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Sisterland

Cover of Sisterland

Sisterland

A Novel
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERNAMED ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR BY SlateDaily CandySt. Louis Post-DispatchThe Guardian (U.K.)"Novelists get called master storytellers all the time, but Sittenfeld...More
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERNAMED ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR BY SlateDaily CandySt. Louis Post-DispatchThe Guardian (U.K.)"Novelists get called master storytellers all the time, but Sittenfeld...More
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Description-
  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR BY
    Slate

  • Daily Candy
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • The Guardian (U.K.)

    "Novelists get called master storytellers all the time, but Sittenfeld really is one. . . . What might be most strikingly excellent about Sisterland is the way Sittenfeld depicts domesticity and motherhood."--Maggie Shipstead, The Washington Post

    "Psychologically vivid . . . Sisterland is a testament to [Curtis Sittenfeld's] growing depth and assurance as a writer."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

    "[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


    Curtis Sittenfeld, 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 another, more devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. Equally 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 to face 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.

    Praise for Sisterland

    "What's most captivating about Sisterland is the intimate, intense portrayal of identical twin sisters. . . . [The novel] unfolds like a good prophecy--inevitable and shocking."--San Francisco Chronicle

    "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."--USA Today

    From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    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...

About the Author-
  • 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 and the Iowa Writer's Workshop.

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    Random House Publishing Group
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