Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Weird Sisters

The Andreas sisters are old enough to realize that the lives they've imagined don't measure up to the ones they're actually living. Is their disappointment and lack of self-fulfillment the result of being named for great Shakespearean characters - as imposed by their father, a scholar of the English Bard?

When their mother falls ill, the three, single sisters--each facing her own personal dilemma and demons--are suddenly reunited. There is Rose (Rosalind), the dutiful oldest sister, who has never left the hometown and is having a hard time committing to the man she loves; Bean (Bianca), a brusque, fashion-conscious middle child with a shopping compulsion; and Cordy (Cordelia), the beatnik baby of the bunch who has lived like a gypsy over the years.

With the trio back under the same roof to care for their ailing mother and emotionally-distant father, the disparate sisters are forced to face each other, their sibling rivalries and the limitations of their lives - all while struggling with issues of mortality, love, and the reversal of parent-child roles.

With fully realized characters, beautiful writing and a meandering story arc that encourages readers to linger over each and every word, what I loved even more about this book was the voice that led me through the narrative. "Our mother was facing a crisis..." "Our little sister was..." By writing via a first person plural point-of-view, it made me feel as though I, myself, were a member of this dynamic, literary-loving family - and that lent a sense of intimacy that further immersed me in this story and enriched my reading experience.

Eleanor Brown's THE WEIRD SISTERS  is a contemporary familial saga that stays true to the tenets of classical Shakespearean storytelling, where you can always count on a birth or a marriage to reconcile domesticity until it brims with hope.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, Hardcover, 9780399157226, 336pp.
Publication Date: January 20, 2011
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