Books, Documentaries, Reviews: Sisterland: A Novel: Curtis Sittenfeld

Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  November 7, 2013


Curtis Sittenfeld

I  finished Wish You Were Here, Steward O’Nan, the other day.  And, moved on last night to Curtis Sittenfeld’s Sisterland.

In the opening pages, I discovered that there was a great earthquake in the midwest in the early 1800s.

Sisterland takes place in St. Louis, Missouri.  The opening date is 2009.

Two identical twin sisters:  the narrator twin is married with two children; Vi is single.  They may have psychic powers.

The sisters have lunch together and argue.  That night there is an earthquake tremor.  The frightened parents gather their children and put them into their bed.

Here’s text from the opening chapter:

I felt them falling asleep one by one then, my son, my daughter, and my husband.  Awake alone, I experienced a gratitude for my life and our family, the four of us together, accounted for and okay.  In contrast to the agitation I’d been gripped by before the earthquake, I was filled with calmness, a sense that we’d passed safely through a minor scare–like when you speed up too fast in slow highway traffic and almost hit the car in front of you but then you don’t.  The argument with Vi, inflated prior to the quake, shrank to its true size; it was insignificant.  My sister and I had spent three decades bickering and making up.

But now that several years have passed, it pains me to remember this night because I was wrong.  Although we were safe in that moment, we hadn’t passed through anything.  Nothing was concluding, nothing was finished; everything was just beginning.  And though my powers weren’t what they once had been, though I no longer considered myself truly psychic, I still should have been able to anticipate what would happen next.

Ok, I’m hooked!

I’ve read Sittenfeld’s American Wife, so know her abilities.  This book is going to be gooooood!


Sisterland: A Novel: Curtis Sittenfeld: 9781400068319: Books.

PS:  Wish You Were Here is a lovely read.  I especially enjoyed the exploration of how a family comes together–or doesn’t–with all their complicated relationships–after the death of the father/grandfather.