Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love Sittenfeld's writing, so I was going to read this book no matter what. However, reading the cover copy and learning it would be about psychic twins gave me pause. This didn't sound like Sittenfeld's sort of subject matter--nor my sort of subject matter--but I love this author, so I had to give it a go.
Ultimately, it wasn't really a book about psychic abilities at all. In fact, I have to wonder why that was even really included at all. Surely there could have been another sort of conflict that could cause such tension between Kate and her husband Jeremy and Kate's sister Violet. However, the book was ultimately a wonderful read about family dynamics and loyalties, as well as a look into how we deal with choices we make that we cannot even explain to ourselves.
I wish more time had been given to the fallout from the ultimate act--the "earthquake" so to speak (no spoilers!)--but I think it was also valuable to develop all of the characters' nuanced relationships with one another, as well. Sittenfeld is good at making you feel a certain way about characters, even if it's not a good feeling, and that, I think, is what makes her writing so authentic. I didn't like Violet, but as someone who doesn't always like my own sister, either, I could absolutely identify with Kate's emotions and actions toward her. And while I'm not married, I am dating someone as smart and wonderful and level-headed as Jeremy, and I could recognize how difficult it can feel to come up against that at times, as Kate does, knowing that she's being irrational but also being unable to feel or act any other way.
All in all, not my favorite book Sittenfeld has written, but still a solid read from an excellent writer.
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