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Review: The Sister, by Poppy Adams

Bulburrow Court, a sprawling, eccentric, Gothic house in the Dorset country, is the family home of the even more eccentric Stone family. Ginny, a shy and retiring lepidopterologist, has lived there for her whole life, while her younger sister Vivi went off to London at a young age. The novel begins when Vivi comes home again—perhaps to stay permanently, which unsettles Ginny, because the two parted on bad terms. The narrative is told from the point of view of Ginny, who views herself as the levelheaded, reliable one. Often Ginny slips back into remembrances of the past, which include their socialite mother Maud and their taciturn father Clive, also a lepidopterologist. The study of moths is gone into with great detail, showing that Adams has done her research. But all the same, its quite creepy.

Over the course of more than 270 pages, Adams builds up a novel of suspense that, in my opinion, has no payoff. There are a lot of question that, in the end, aren’t answered, and that’s the frustrating part of this book. Ginny, our unreliable narrator is a puzzling and complicated character, and she only shows us aspects of her personality that she wants us to see. There are some truly surprising twists and turns in this unsettling novel, but ultimately I don’t think this novel was for me.

Kim asked: "I am curious about The Sister. What is it about? What genre? Great characters that I would care about? Is this the first thing you have read by this author?"

I asnwered the first two questions in my review; as for the third question, I wasn't too keen on the two main characters, though they certainly were psychologically complex. Since this is Poppy Adams's first novel, it's of course the first book I've read by her. But not particularly the last.

Also reviewed by: A Work in Progress, Once Upon A Bookshelf, Shelf Love, The Literate Housewife Review, An Adventure in Reading

Comments

Tasses said…
I agreed with you in my review. not my cup of tea. Stupid ending.
I'm sorry to hear about that. I had heard that it was somewhat creepy, but not enough to captivate it seems. Thank you for the review. I'll hold off on this one.
Nicole said…
I guess I won't rush to read this one.

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2015 Reading

January
1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

February
1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

March
1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…