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Sisterland [Format Kindle]

Curtis Sittenfeld
3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Extrait

9781400068319|excerpt

Sittenfeld / SISTERLAND

Chapter 1

September 2009

St. Louis, Missouri

The shaking started around three in the morning, and it happened that I was already awake because I’d nursed Owen at two and then, instead of going back to sleep, I’d lain there brooding about the fight I’d had at lunch with my sister, Vi. I’d driven with Owen and Rosie in the backseat to pick up Vi, and the four of us had gone to Hacienda. We’d finished eating and I was collecting Rosie’s stray food from the tabletop—once I had imagined I wouldn’t be the kind of mother who ordered chicken tenders for her child off the menu at a Mexican restaurant—when Vi said, “So I have a date tomorrow.”

“That’s great,” I said. “Who is it?”

Casually, after running the tip of her tongue over her top teeth to check for food, Vi said, “She’s an IT consultant, which sounds boring, but she’s traveled a lot in South and Central America, so she couldn’t be a total snooze, right?”

I was being baited, but I tried to match Vi’s casual tone as I said, “Did you meet online?” Rosie, who was two and a half, had gotten up from the table, wandered over to a ficus plant in the corner, and was smelling the leaves. Beside me in the booth, buckled into his car seat, Owen, who was six months, grabbed at a little plush giraffe that hung from the car seat’s handle.

Vi nodded. “There’s pretty slim pickings for dykes in St. Louis.”

“So that’s what you consider yourself these days?” I leaned in and said in a lowered tone, “A lesbian?”

Looking amused, Vi imitated my inclined posture and quiet voice. “What if the manager hears you?” she said. “And gets a boner?” She grinned. “At this point, I’m bi-celibate. Or should I say Vi-sexual? But I figure it’s all a numbers game—I keep putting myself out there and, eventually, I cross paths with Ms. or Mr. Right.”

“Meaning you’re on straight dating sites, too?”

“Not at the moment, but in the future, maybe.” Our waitress approached and left the bill at the edge of the table. I reached for it as soon as she’d walked away—when Vi and I ate together, I always paid without discussion—and Vi said, “Don’t leave a big tip. She was giving us attitude.”

“I didn’t notice.”

“And my fajita was mostly peppers.”

“You of all people should realize that’s not the waitress’s fault.” For years, all through our twenties, Vi had worked at restaurants. But she was still regarding me skeptically as I set down my credit card, and I added, “It’s rude not to tip extra when you bring little kids.” We were at a conversational crossroads. Either we could stand, I could gather the mess of belongings that accompanied me wherever I went—once I had been so organized that I kept my spice rack alphabetized, and now I left hats and bibs and sippy cups in my wake, baggies of Cheerios, my own wallet and sunglasses—and the four of us could head out to the parking lot and then go on to drop Vi at her house, all amicably. Or I could express a sentiment that wasn’t Vi, in her way, asking me to share?

“I believe in tipping well for great service,” Vi was saying. “This girl was phoning it in.”

I said, “If you feel equally attracted to men and women, why not date men? Isn’t it just easier? I mean, I wish it weren’t true, but—” I glanced at my daughter right as she pulled a ficus leaf off the plant and extended her tongue toward it. I had assumed the plant was fake and, therefore, durable, and I called out, “No mouth, Rosie. Come over here.” When I looked back at Vi, I couldn’t remember what I’d wanted to say next. Hadn’t I had another point? And Vi was sneering in a way that made me wish, already, that I’d simply let the moment pass.

“Easier?” Her voice was filled with contempt. “It’s just easier to be straight? As in, what, less embarrassing to my uptight sister?”

“That’s not what I said.”

“Don’t you think it would be easier if black people hadn’t demanded to ride in the front of the bus like white people? Or go to the same schools? That was so awkward when that happened!” This seemed to be an indirect reference to my friend Hank, but I ignored it.

“I don’t have a problem with gay people,” I said, and my cheeks were aflame, which I’d have known, even if I hadn’t been able to feel their heat, by the fact that Vi’s were, too. We would always be identical twins, even though we were no longer, in most ways, identical.

“Where’s Rosie’s baloney?” Rosie said. She had returned from the ficus plant—thank goodness—and was standing next to me.

“It’s at home,” I said. “We didn’t bring it.” The baloney was a piece from a lunch-themed puzzle, a life-sized pink wooden circle on a yellow wooden square, that Rosie had recently become inexplicably attached to. I said to Vi, “Don’t make me out to be homophobic. It’s a statement of fact that life is simpler—it is, Vi—don’t look at me like that. It’s not like two women can get married in Missouri, and there’s a lot of financial stuff that goes along with that, or visiting each other in the hospital. Or having kids—for gay couples, that’s complicated and it’s expensive, too.”

“Having kids period is complicated!” Vi’s anger had taken on an explosive quality, and I felt people at nearby tables looking toward us. “And this whole making-life-simpler bullshit?” she continued. While I flinched at the swear word in front of Rosie, it didn’t seem intentional—there was no question that Vi sometimes liked to provoke me, but it appeared she was swept up in the moment. “Children are nothing but a problem people create and then congratulate themselves on solving. Look at you and Jeremy, for Christ’s sake. ‘Oh, we can’t leave the house because it’s Rosie’s naptime, we can’t be out past five forty-five p.m.’ or whenever the fuck it is—” I was pretty sure Rosie had only a vague notion of what these obscenities, or anything else Vi was saying, meant, but I could sense her watching rapt from beside me, no doubt even more enthralled because she’d heard her own name. “Or, ‘She can’t wear that sunscreen because it has parabens in it’—I mean, seriously, can you even tell me what a paraben is?—and ‘She can’t eat raw carrots because she might choke,’ and on and on and on. But who asked you to have children? Do you think you’re providing some service to the world? You got pregnant because you wanted to—which, okay, that’s your right, but then other people can’t do what they want to because it’s too complicated?”

“Fine,” I said. “Forget I said anything.”

“Don’t be a pussy.”

I glared at her. “Don’t call me names.”

“Well, it seems awfully convenient that you get to speak your mind and then close down the discussion.”

“I need to go home for their naps,” I said, and there was a split second in which Vi and I looked at each other and almost laughed. Instead, sourly, she said, “Of course you do.”

In the car, she was silent, and after a couple minutes, Rosie said from the backseat, “Mama wants to sing the Bingo song.”

“I’ll sing it later,” I said.

“Mama wants to sing the Bingo song now,” Rosie said, and when I didn’t respond, she added in a cheerful tone, “When you take off your diaper, it makes Mama very sad.”

Vi snorted unpleasantly. “Why don’t you just toilet train her?”

“We’re going to soon.”

Vi said nothing, and loathing for her flared up in me, which was probably just what she wanted. It was one thing for my sister to fail to appreciate the energy I put into our lunches, the sheer choreography of getting a six-month-old and a two-year-old out of the house, into the car, into a restaurant, and back home with no major meltdowns (never in my children’s presence could I have ordered a meal as intricately, messily hands-on as a fajita), but it was another thing entirely for Vi to mock me. And yet, in one final attempt at diplomacy, as I stopped the car on the street outside the small single-story gray house where Vi lived, I said, “For Dad’s birthday, I was thinking—”

“Let’s talk about it later.”

“Fine.” If she thought I was going to plead for forgiveness, she was mistaken, and it wasn’t just because we really did need to get home for Rosie and Owen’s naps. She climbed from the car, and before she shut the door, I said, “By the way?”

A nasty satisfaction rose in me as she turned. She was prepared for me to say, I didn’t mean to be such a jerk in the restaurant. Instead, I said, “Parabens are preservatives.”

Fourteen hours later, at three in the morning, our squabble was what I was stewing over; specifically, I was thinking that the reason I’d made my points so clumsily was that what I really believed was even more offensive than that being straight was easier than being gay. I believed Vi was dating women because she was at her heaviest ever—she’d quit smoking in the spring, and now she had to be sixty pounds overweight—and most lesbians seemed to be more forgiving about appearances than most straight men. I didn’t think I’d object to Vi being gay if I believed she actually was, but something about this development felt false, akin to the way she’d wished, since our adolescence, that she’d been born Jewish, or the way she kept a dream catcher above her kitchen sink. Lying there in the dark next to Jeremy, I wondered what would happen if I were to suggest that she and I do Weight Watchers together; I myself was still carrying ten extra pounds from being pregnant with Owen. Then I thought about how most nights Jeremy and I split a pint of ice cream in front of the TV, how it was pretty much the best part of the day—the whole ritual of relaxation after both children were asleep and before Owen woke up for his ten p.m. nursing—and how it seemed unlikely that half a pint of fudge ripple was part of any diet plan. This was when the bed in which Jeremy and I slept began to shake.

I assumed at first that Jeremy was causing the mattress to move by turning over, except that he wasn’t turning. The rocking continued for perhaps ten seconds, at which point Jeremy abruptly sat up and said, “It’s an earthquake.” But already the rocking seemed to be subsiding.

I sat up, too. “Are you sure?”

“You get Owen and I’ll get Rosie.” Jeremy had turned on the light on his nightstand and was walking out of the room, and as I hurried from bed, adrenaline coursed through me; my heart was beating faster and I felt simultaneously unsteady and purposeful. In his crib, illuminated by a starfish-shaped night-light, Owen was lying on his back as I’d left him an hour earlier, his arms raised palms up on either side of his head, his cheeks big and smooth, his nose tiny. I hesitated just a second before lifting him, and I grabbed one of the eight pacifiers scattered in the crib. As I’d guessed he would, he blinked awake, seeming confused, but made only one mournful cry as I stuck in the pacifier. In the small central hallway that connected the house’s three bedrooms, we almost collided with Jeremy and Rosie, Rosie’s legs wrapped around Jeremy’s torso, her arms dangling limply over his shoulders, her face half-obscured by tangled hair. Her eyes were open, I saw, but barely.

“Do we go to the basement?” I said to Jeremy. The shaking had definitely stopped.

“That’s tornadoes.”

“What is it for earthquakes?” In retrospect, it’s hard to believe I needed to ask, hard to believe I had reached the age of thirty-four and given birth to two children without bothering to learn such basic information.

Jeremy said, “In theory, you get under a table, but staying in bed is okay, too.”

“Really?” We looked at each other, my husband sweet and serious in his gray T-shirt and blue striped boxer shorts, our daughter draped across him.

“You want me to check?” He meant by looking online from his phone, which he kept beside the bed at night.

“We shouldn’t call Courtney, should we?” I said. “They must have felt it if we did.” Courtney Wheeling was Jeremy’s colleague at Washington University—his area of study was aquatic chemistry, hers was seismology and plate tectonics—and she and her husband, Hank, lived down the street and were our best friends.

“It doesn’t seem necessary,” Jeremy said. “I’ll look at FEMA’s website, but I think the best thing is for all of us to go back to bed.”

I nodded my chin toward Rosie. “Keeping them with us or in their own rooms?”

Rosie’s head popped up. “Rosie sleeps with Mama!” A rule of thumb with Rosie was that whether I did or didn’t think she was following the conversation, I was always wrong.

“Keeping them,” Jeremy said. “In case of aftershocks.”

In our room, I climbed into bed holding Owen, shifting him so he was nestled in my right arm while Jeremy helped Rosie settle on my other side. I wasn’t sure whether to be alarmed or pleasantly surprised that Jeremy was all right having the kids sleep with us. In general, he was the one who resisted bringing them into our bed; he’d read the same books in Rosie’s infancy that I had, half of which argued that sharing a bed with your kids was the most nurturing thing you could do and the other half of which warned that doing so would result in your smothering them either figuratively or literally. But I liked when they were close by—whether or not it really was safer, at some primitive level, it felt like it had to be—and the thought of them sleeping alone in their cribs sometimes pinched at my heart. Besides, I could never resist their miniature limbs and soft skin.

Rosie curled toward me then, tapping my arm, and I turned— awkwardly, because of how I was holding Owen—to look at her. She said, “Rosie wants a banana.”

“In the morning, sweetheart.”

Jeremy had gone to the window that faced the street, and he parted the curtains. “Everyone’s lights are on,” he said.

“A monkey eats a banana peel,” Rosie declared. “But not people.”

“That’s true,” I said. “It would make us sick.”

Jeremy was typing on his phone. After a minute, he said, “There’s nothing about it online yet.” He looked up. “How’s he doing?”

“He’s more asleep than awake, but will you get an extra binky just in case?” Surely this was evidence of the insularity of our lives: that unless otherwise specified, whenever Jeremy or I said he, we meant our son, and whenever we said she, we meant our daughter. On a regular basis, we sent each other texts consisting in their entirety of one letter and one punctuation mark: R? for How’s Rosie doing? and O? for How’s Owen? And surely it was this insularity that so irritated Vi, whereas to me, the fact that my life was suburban and conventional was a victory.

Jeremy returned from Owen’s room with a second pacifier, handed it to me, and lay down before turning off the light on his nightstand. Then— I whispered, because whispering seemed more appropriate in the dark— I said, “So if there are aftershocks, we just stay put?”

“And keep away from windows. That’s pretty much all I could find on the FEMA site.”

“Thanks for checking.” Over Owen’s head, I reached out to rub Jeremy’s shoulder.

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.

Revue de presse

“Psychologically vivid . . . Sittenfeld’s gifts for portraying the inner lives of her heroines [bring Sisterland] closer, in terms of emotional chiaroscuro, to two classics about pairs of sisters, The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett and The Easter Parade by Richard Yates . . . Sisterland is a testament to the author’s growing depth and assurance as a writer.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
 
Novelists get called master storytellers all the time, but Sittenfeld really is one, a kind of no-nonsense, BabyBjörn-wearing Scheherazade. . . . What might be most strikingly excellent about Sisterland is the way Sittenfeld depicts domesticity and motherhood.”—Maggie Shipstead, The Washington Post
 
“[Sittenfeld’s] gifts are in full effect with this novel, and she uses them to create a genuinely engrossing sense of uncertainty and suspense.”—Sloane Crosley, NPR’s All Things Considered

“In [Sisterland], the accomplished Sittenfeld . . . is as skillful as ever at developing an intriguing premise and likable characters. . . . Sittenfeld’s affectionate take on sibling rivalry is spot-on.”—People
 
“The power of [Sittenfeld’s] writing and the force of her vision challenge the notion that great fiction must be hard to read. She is a master of dramatic irony, creating fully realized social worlds before laying waste to her heroines’ understanding of them. . . . Her prose [is] a rich delight.”—The Boston Globe
 
Wise and often wickedly entertaining . . . Readers who have siblings—especially women with sisters—will likely come away feeling as if the author really is psychic, able to learn the truth of their own dark secrets, and forgive them.”—USA Today
 
“Full of quiet, surprisingly relatable moments, [Sisterland is] a thoughtful look at the near-supernatural closeness between sisters. . . . As she did so well in her first novel, Prep, Sittenfeld richly evokes the daily lives of young women who are trying to figure themselves out. . . . Sisterland is a compelling portrait of what it’s like to grow up alongside your best—and worst—self.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Arresting . . . Captivating . . . Sisterland is a long story of shake-ups: eerie precognitions, seismic shifts, lapses in fidelity. Like life itself, it graphs both the agonizing longueurs of domestic life and the horrific thrill of sudden disasters. . . . Character is [Sittenfeld’s] great strength, and the moral complexity of ordinary life her main subject. . . . Sisterland unfolds like a good prophecy—inevitable and shocking.”—San Francisco Chronicle


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3.0 étoiles sur 5 A mixed bag... 1 février 2015
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Sisterland is the story of two sisters, Kate (born Daisy) and Vi (Violet). The narrations shifts between the past, as the two sisters grow up with a depressive mother and gifts of ESP, and the present, where a threat is looming, after a first (small) earthquake, and Vi’s prediction of a much bigger one.

Sisterland is narrated from the point of view of Kate, the “normal” sister, the one who is a stay-at-home mother with two kids. Kate is the one who renounced her psychic abilities, since she suffered, in her childhood, of their consequences (she has been called a witch and has lost a few friends). She spends her days at the park with her children and Hank, a stay-at-home father whose wife works with Kate’s husband. Her sister Vi, on the other side, lives from her gift, giving readings and holding group meditations. She is 60 pounds overweight and is currently dating women. Both take care of their father, who lives alone since the death of their mother, years ago.

As the past unfolds the often uneasy relationship between the two sisters, and the different paths their lives have taken, the present is lived under the idea of impending disaster predicted by Vi, and that will take a form that nobody could have predicted.

The idea of two sisters with ESP is a very good one, but I thought the novel itself is a mixed bag. While it was interesting to learn about the evolution of the relationship between the two sisters, and a bit suspenseful to see how Vi’s prediction would unfold, I thought that it was not clear to determine what the author wanted the novel to be about.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Sisterland 25 décembre 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I found it thought provoking and interesting. A real good read, I look forward to discussing it in my book club
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Amazon.com: 3.4 étoiles sur 5  593 commentaires
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting story devolves into soap opera 30 avril 2013
Par Kathy Cunningham - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Curtis Sittenfeld's SISTERLAND is ostensibly the story of twin sisters born with precognition. Violet and Daisy grew up understanding that they had "senses," meaning the ability to foresee future events. As an adult, Violet (or Vi) embraces those senses, and makes them part of her everyday life - she aids the police in a kidnapping case and does readings for paying clients. Daisy (who changes her name to Kate during college) rejects her senses, and makes every effort to become a normal housewife raising two young children. When Vi senses that their hometown of St. Louis will suffer a massive earthquake on October 16, both her life and Kate's are thrown into chaos. Suddenly, a world-wide TV audience is obsessed with Vi, and Kate has an increasingly difficult time trying to seem normal.

But while the sisters' precognitive abilities form the backdrop of this story, SISTERLAND really has little to do with precognition. Do Vi and Kate really possess extra-sensory powers? Sittenfeld isn't particularly concerned with this. Kate's scientist husband, Jeremy, never really believes any of it - he sees Vi as a humorous eccentric and Kate as an over-protective mom who caters to her freaky sister out of a sense of twin loyalty. Similarly, Kate and Jeremy's best friends - geophysicist Courtney and her stay-at-home husband, Hank - don't put much credence in anything Vi has to say. But everyone gets along well enough, in spite of it. As October 16 approaches, some in St. Louis make plans to leave town, others have "Earthquake Parties," and Vi plans to milk her fifteen minutes of fame for all it's worth. But Kate, Jeremy, and their friends try to go on doing what they always do.

SISTERLAND is really the story of two very different sisters who have the kinds of baggage most of us have - a distant and depressed mother, a silent father, lousy boyfriends, and a whole lot of confusion over who they really are. Kate is the narrator, and as such we see what happens from her perspective as she does everything she can to deny her so-called senses (just as she denies her birth-name, Daisy). Everything about Vi embarrasses Kate - Vi is sixty pounds overweight, wears Birkenstocks, loves the attention her predictions bring her, and she's experimenting with a lesbian relationship. Kate just wants to be a better mom to her kids than her own mom was to her, and a good wife to her husband, with whom she loves sharing a pint of ice cream at the end of an exhausting day. There's no place in Kate's ordinary suburban life for Vi's supernatural mumbo-jumbo, and no way Vi will ever be down-to-earth enough to be ordinary.

This is a very readable novel, and I enjoyed Kate's story up to a point - but I must admit I found Vi more interesting. Had Sittenfeld given us both women's perspectives - and had she been more open herself to the possibilities inherent in extrasensory perception - this might have been a more successful novel. As it is, I tired of Kate's flashbacks and memories, all of which painted her as insecure and lacking in courage. Additionally, Sittenfeld takes her story in a disappointing direction during its final act, a direction that simply doesn't seem true to the characters as written. Kate does something at the end of this novel that would be more fitting in a Lifetime movie (or maybe a Jodi Picoult book) - in fact, Kate herself admits, "this was a situation from a soap opera." I found myself saying "Oh no, oh no, oh no!" out loud as this development unfolded - it came so totally out of left field, and set in motion a series of depressing developments that simply shouldn't have happened.

In a way, SISTERLAND reminded me of Jane Hamilton's MAP OF THE WORLD, a somber tale of suburbia gone wrong. I suppose Sittenfeld is suggesting that there's a real danger in complacency, and that any of us can take a turn in the road that leads us to disaster. Earthquakes don't always involve geology, I guess. But this is a novel that starts out as an interesting story of two sisters living very different lives, and ends up as a cautionary tale about getting too comfortable with our routines and our normalcy. I didn't buy what happens to Kate at the end of SISTERLAND, and in that lies the novel's weakness. The last seventy pages just seem forced and unbelievable. Sittenfeld is too good a writer to let that happen.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Perplexed by so many bad reviews 12 novembre 2013
Par K. Fugate - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
It is very rare for me to be so wrapped up in a book that I read the entire thing in one day, but I couldn't put this one down. Then, when I finished it, I decided to read some of the customer reviews to see if other people felt the same way I did. Wow. So glad I didn't read them before I read the book, because after reading the one and two-star reviews, I'm afraid they might have convinced me not to bother with Sisterland. While a lot of the negative reviews were intelligently written and made some valid points, for the most part they seem to have been written by people who completely missed the point of the book. Some were frustrated because they wanted to read a book about psychic abilities, especially psychic twins, and that is only sort of what the book is about. It's about two sisters who may or may not be legitimately psychic, but whether they are or not, they believe that they are. This belief causes them to follow vastly different paths and lifestyles - one twin embraces her "abilities" and nurtures them in a way that is not always healthy, while the other twin runs from what she perceives as a curse, which causes her to behave in ways that aren't all that healthy either.

Other people were annoyed because they were expecting a book about an earthquake, which is only marginally what the book is about. While the book does contain actual earthquakes, the big earthquake is also a symbol of several events that shake the internal foundation of the characters. Some of the earthquakes are metaphorical. Several people also complained about the twist at the end, claiming it was unrealistic and there was no foreshadowing leading up to it. These observations made me wonder if we had all read the same book, because I felt that the foreshadowing started almost immediately and was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. I read the entire novel with a vague sense of dread, because the foreshadowing made it so obvious that something terrible was going to happen. When that terrible thing was finally revealed, it was gut-wrenching. Without giving anything away, I just have to say that I didn't guess what the final twist would be, but I completely understood what lead up to it and didn't find it unrealistic in the least. Maybe this is because I'm acquainted with people in real life who have made similar mistakes in their lives and with far less logical reasons.

There have been a few complaints in the negative reviews that do have some validity, but they are minor issues in the overall scheme of things. Yes, the author does refer to Down Syndrome as Down's Syndrome, which makes me wonder if the publisher employs any proofreaders, but I feel that way about a lot of books. And, let's face it, most of the population misspells the name of this particular disorder, so it's likely that if the book had spelled it properly, most people would have thought THAT was a misprint. Others complained about the illogical reasons given for Vi experimenting with lesbian relationships, claiming that the reasons made no sense and could be offensive to the LGBT community. To that, I would say that while I have many gay friends who certainly didn't choose to be gay, I also personally know several unstable young women who claim to be bisexual simply because of the attention the statement gets them. There is no question that Violet is an attention-seeker who frequently gets the attention she craves by saying and doing things for the sole purpose of getting under the skin of the people close to her. I know a few Violets, and there isn't much they won't do to shock people. It's what they do for entertainment. I found Vi very believable.

The complaints I find most valid are (1) Kate/Daisy is a little whiny and insipid, but I didn't really mind that because I understood her motivations and I sympathized with her, and (2) Rosie, her toddler, spoke in an annoying manner that didn't seem realistic. This I have to agree with, because I've never heard a toddler speak that way, but maybe there are some who do, so big deal. As far as the book touching on psychic themes without actually being a book about psychic ability, I really liked the way it was handled. It suggests that these abilities might be real, but leaves enough ambiguity that one could draw the conclusion that the twins aren't really psychic so much as they are extremely observant and perceptive people whose predictions are right some of the time. What the book is really about is the complex love/hate relationship between a particular set of twins, and how their belief that they are psychic leads them to make choices they might not otherwise have made, thus leading to consequences that are not always pleasant. In that regard, I found the story fascinating and well-written, and I feel sorry for people who couldn't enjoy the book because they didn't understand what it was trying to say.
142 internautes sur 178 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 TRAINWRECK: A Novel 11 mai 2013
Par Spindrift - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
I am a reader. It is what I do. I become enamored with, and follow the careers of authors the way others follow movie stars and sports figures. It is my version of being "starstruck". I once attended an event that featured the fascinating, Janet Fitch, author of the critical and commercial success, "White Oleander", and she confided to the audience that even after her phenomenal, successful debut effort, the critical and commercial hit, "White Oleander", her second book had been rejected by her publisher. I was astounded. How could a publisher reject anything written by Janet Fitch? She was honest with her fans that day, telling us that it was just not any good. She hadn't been asked to adjust it, or merely "tweek" it. She had to trash it and start over again. Eventually, Janet published the magnificent "Paint it Black" and everything was fine. But it does bring to mind the fact that perhaps some writers don't have more than one, or at the most two, good books in them. Everyone is familiar with Harper Lee's story. So I guess I should not have been so disappointed, at being so disappointed, in Curtis Sittenfeld's latest offering, "Sisterland". She has previously produced two stellar books. "American Wife" was on my top three of the year list a few years ago...it was fabulous. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of "Sisterland".

In my current state of being perplexed over this book, I want to avoid calling it a "hot mess". But I can't. Sittenfeld has mixed so many themes here and produced so many conflicting and ambiguous points of view (not to mention mind numbingly preposterous events occurring-- following one of Violet's "visions" the "Today Show" calls...pleease...) that I just have to think that she threw this one together like a last minute pot of soup. A little of this, a dash of that, and what ever else is left in the fridge that isn't totally ready for the trash bin. We are introduced to identical twins, Daisy and Violet. Daisy (who will change her name to "Kate") names her amazingly irritating little girl "Rosie". You knew that already, didn't you? The twins are psychic. Or as the perfectly well educated Daisy/Kate describes it, they have "senses". Daisy also experiences a condition she refers to as "anxious heart". Just don't ask me what this is. Daisy and Violet have a contentious relationship. Daisy is embarrassed by their "senses", Violet embraces the situation. Basically Daisy is cute enough and socially acceptable, but Violet is a big, disgusting, pig, who smokes like a chimney, enjoys bathroom humor, and becomes a lesbian because she has gained 60 pounds and dating men is "hard" (Reeealllly, Vi...? I wonder if the LGBT community will be pleased with this analogy) Their dad is a nice older man, but their mother is disengaged and does not seem to like them very much. I didn't either, so I was kind of on her side. Although, in fairness, the author does not offer us much back story here, to give us a pathology of the parent's malaise...so we are left in the weeds. I hate it when bad parenting is introduced into the narrative, but no one cares enough to investigate Mom and Dad's "story".

I will not continue to try to explain this roadkill to you. But I must comment on the trend of young motherhood being described as nothing but a whine fest. Daisy/Kate has a nice husband who adores her, a great home, and the privilege of being able to quit her job and stay at home with her two babies. Apparently our girl, Daisy/Kate hasn't read a newspaper for several years, many mothers are not able to experience this luxury these days. She complains wildly and none stop about having to care for these little ones until I thought I would scream. Boy, could I tell Daisy a few tales of desperate young motherhood that would curl her hair. Where is the nuance? When a sentence in the book that I am reading starts with, "After I drained the noodles"...I know I have found myself in the middle of the wrong book.

I realize that it is not necessary to like the protagonists in a book or to identify with them to enjoy the story. But I do expect them to have at least an interesting bone in their bodies. There is just not one character to be found in this group of misanthropic, poorly adjusted, individuals, making one abysmal life decision after another, that could spark even a little interest for me...and if one or two got close, Sittenfeld immediately failed to develop the aura of the character...everyone got short shrifted here. Especially the reader. Skip this one.
22 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 well-written but not satisfying 2 août 2013
Par G. Lake - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I read this book because it looked promising. I enjoy stories about sisters, and twins, and psychics. I ended up reading the whole thing, even though I wanted to stop several times. The story started out well, but became tedious. It was very well-written, so I kept expecting the plot to pick up and get me hooked. This could have been a good book, but overall I think it was nonsensical and slightly boring. Especially toward the end- the main character acted like a whole other person and made me want to slap her silly. This book ended up reeking of oppression and repression, self-pity, and meekness. I now regard it as a waste of my time, because although I gave the story a determined chance, it did not live up to its potential.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 What a waste of time and $ 23 mars 2014
Par Brittnee Boyd - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
I can't believe that I wasted time reading this. The concept of twins and ESP pulled me in , but that's as far as it went. It always seemed to be building up to something that never happened. The last couple chapters of the book didn't seem to fit with the first 90%of the book, it was as if the author merged 2 different books together at the end just to get it finished!
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