Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

Her new novel, The Story Sisters , charts the lives of three sisters–Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart’s desire, and a demon who will not let go. What does a mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others? How deep can love go, and how far can it take you?

My rating: 4 looks
When I checked this book out of the library, the librarian said to me, "This is an author that you either love or hate." I wondered at this comment, reflecting on my prior readings of Alice Hoffman. You know, she is probably not quite as polarizing as the librarian thought, but she was definitely on the right track.

This book caught me quite by surprise. The themes and situations of the book were agonizing and heart wrenching. Sister against sister, rebellion against loving parents, lost loves, suicide, drug use, child rape. This book had it all. On the other hand, it also had love, compassion, honestly, loyalty, love found late in life, redemption, nurturing. There was, at the end, far more good than bad.

After all, isn't this what like itself is? You have much bad and you have much good. In the end, you just want the good to outweigh the bad. In this case, I was quite taken with the book. It was real life with no whitewash. The novel was honest, brutal, straightforward and beautiful.

I recommend this one.

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