“Our windows were open, and the radio had been playing continuously—not one but two Billy Joel songs had come on during our drive—and the air was dense with the humidity of a midwestern summer, weather that even then made me homesick, though it was hard to say for what. Maybe my homesickness was a form of this very car ride that I recognize as irretrievable: the experience of driving nowhere in particular with my sister, both of us seventeen years old, the open windows causing our hair to blow wildly; that feeling of being unencumbered; that confidence that our futures would unfold the way we wanted them to and our real lives were just beginning.”
This one was a doozy. Sisterland delves into the lives of two sisters from St. Louis who couldn’t be more different, yet are united by a thread that will link them together forever. Besides the fact that they’re identical twins, the pair realizes at a young age that they have what they call “senses.” While Vi embraces the unusual talent, the narrator, Daisy (who goes by Kate once she gets to college), wants nothing to do with it after a dramatic childhood encounter. Taking place between flashbacks and the present, the sisters find themselves in a life-changing situation after Vi makes a public prediction that a huge earthquake will shake St. Louis to the core.
I think you realize how good an author is at creating characters when you are able to find people you know within his or her creations on the page. Jeremy, Kate’s husband, was one of those characters for me. Curtis Sittenfeld’s biggest strength is her ability to write from any perspective. Her range, from teenage girl (The Man of My Dreams) to prep school student (Prep) to anxious new mom, is so beautifully accurate that it’s hard not to be captivated by each and every character. In Sisterland, I didn’t even particularly like Kate, but I still could not put the book down once I started it and stayed up until midnight (way past my bedtime) to finish it. Because Vi sets a date for her prediction, the reader is waiting through the days to see what happens just like the characters. There were some points in the middle where I was wondering why the author was including the scenes she did and getting a little impatient, but it was definitely a worthwhile wait. The multiple strains—family, twins, mysticism, romance, betrayal, fame—are woven seamlessly throughout for a tragically haunted tale that turns life’s banalities extraordinary. I absolutely love fiction with a realistic supernatural twist (see The Night Circus), so I definitely recommend this one. It is overwhelmingly sad and nostalgic, but there are moments of light humor that keep it from being downright depressing. Okay, maybe it is depressing, but it still pulled me in with its intricate heartaches. It’s still on my mind even though I finished it a couple days ago. Ahh, book mourning. Anyone else know what I’m talking about? I love you.
Welp, happy Friday! I’m off to spend the weekend with my love. ♥