Sisterland: Book summary and reviews of Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

Sisterland

By Curtis Sittenfeld

Sisterland
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2013,
    416 pages.

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Book Summary

Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of American Wife and Prep, returns with a mesmerizing novel of family and identity, loyalty and deception, and the delicate line between truth and belief

From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar "senses" - innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people's secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them.

Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their hometown of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that a devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. More troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister, and truths about herself she's long tried to deny.

Funny, haunting, and thought-provoking, Sisterland is a beautifully written novel of the obligation we have toward others, and the responsibility we take for ourselves. With her deep empathy, keen wisdom, and unerring talent for finding the extraordinary moments in our everyday lives, Curtis Sittenfeld is one of the most exceptional voices in literary fiction today.

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A rich portrait of intricate relationships within and among families by one of commercial fiction's smartest, most perceptive practitioners." - Kirkus

"A late-in-the-game twist makes the final pages fly, but the real strength of this moving story is Sittenfeld's nuanced examination of the strength of familial bonds, whether they are between sisters or spouses." - Booklist

"Sittenfeld (American Wife) offers no fresh perspective on ESP or living with giftedness but delivers a rich and intimate tale of imperfect, well-meaning, ordinary people struggling to define themselves and protect the people they love." - Publishers Weekly

"Any one of the many themes in this latest novel from Sittenfeld (Prep and American Wife) would make for a riveting story. The author turns conventions on their collective head and creates a world that is familiar, maddening, alluring, and, ultimately, guardedly hopeful." - Library Journal

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Becky H
SISTERLAND by Curtis Sittenfeld
Twins, Kate (Daisy) and Violet, are psychic. One of them becomes a wife and mother and denies her ability. The other embraces it and actually earns a living by using her “senses” as a medium. When Violet, and later, Kate become convinced that a tragic earthquake will strike the city of St. Louis, a long simmering estrangement comes to a head.
Sittenfeld has written an engrossing tale that occasionally bogs down in minutia, but ultimately achieves its goal. The ending is unexpected and wrenching. Those who want a “quick read” should find another book. This one will take a while but will appeal to those who are looking for a love story, a coming of age novel or a family story. Does it end happily ever after – you will just have to read it for yourself.
Book groups will find many topics to discuss – distant (and controlling) moms, ESP, fidelity, relationships between sisters, male-female friendship, abortion, premarital and extramarital sex, mothering styles, divorce, Black-White relationships and class distinctions among others.

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Curtis Sittenfeld is the bestselling author of the novels Prep, The Man of My Dreams, and American Wife, which have been translated into twenty-five languages. Her nonfiction has been published by The New York Times, The Atlantic, Salon, Allure, and Glamour, and broadcast on public radio's This American Life. She graduated from Stanford University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

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