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My Sister's Continent Paperback – January 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Chiasmus Press (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970321295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970321299
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,472,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Soon to be married, Kirby dreads the return to Chicago of her twin, Kendra, a ballerina. So severe is Kirby's stress-induced intestinal malady, her father sends her to his shrink. Kendra is even more of a wreck: a back injury has ended her dancing life, leaving this anorexic, pill-popping sexual outlaw perilously at loose ends. But their father trumps all: he has AIDS. Under all this duress, Kirby begins to question her engagement and her sexuality, and Kendra, a devotee of pain, takes up with a colleague of her father's who is proficient in sadomasochism. The adventurous editor of the literary magazine Other Voices, Frangello has parlayed Freud's vision of female sexuality as a "dark continent" into a boldly explicit debut novel in which high-strung characters struggle to decode the mysteries of the self while their bodies express what their minds repress. Fran-gello is uncanny and mesmerizing in this smart, suspenseful psychosexual drama as she choreographs traumatic, possibly criminal, family dynamics, and delves fearlessly into questions of identity, abuse, power, trust, trespass, and delusion. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

A Freudian tale of a family's twisted past . . . weaving complex issues of sexuality, AIDS and eating disorders. -- Chicago Magazine, December 2005, Jennifer Tanaka

A refreshing rebuttal to the canard that feminism is humorless, and the deep pun in the title is priceless. -- Chicago Tribune, December 2005, Bill Savage

Frangello is uncanny and mesmerizing in this smart, suspenseful psychosexual drama as she choreographs traumatic and even criminal family dynamics. -- Booklist, January 2006, Donna Seaman

More About the Author

Gina Frangello is the author of the short story collection Slut Lullabies (Emergency Press 2010) and the novel My Sister's Continent (Chiasmus 2006), and her second novel, London Calling, will be released in 2011. Gina is a long-time editor and advocate in the independent publishing community. For ten years she served as the Editor of the award-winning literary magazine, Other Voices, and in 2005 she co-founded its book imprint, Other Voices Books, where she is now the Executive Editor. Other Voices Books (www.ovbooks.com) specializes in short story collections, themed anthologies and novels set outside the United States. Gina also edits the Fiction Section of the popular online literary collective, The Nervous Breakdown (www.thenervousbreakdown.com) and has guest-edited several outside projects, including the anthology Falling Backwards: Stories of Fathers and Daughters (Hourglass 2004) and the inaugural issue of TriQuarterly Online. Her journalism and book reviews have appeared widely in newspapers and blogs such as the Chicago Tribune and The Huffington Post. She can be found online at www.ginafrangello.com and currently resides in Chicago with her husband, twin daughters and son.

Author's note: "I love to do book clubs and blog tours, and have based my writing and editing career around forging personal connections between writers and readers. I'm on Facebook and Twitter, and if you'd like to read more of my nonfiction work, I can be found on The Nervous Breakdown blogging, and respond to all comments left on my stories there!"

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
Please read this book.
Angela Stubbs
I find the concept of the book fascinating but ultimately, I don't find the characters engaging and in some ways it all seems superficial or contrived to me.
mfaromantic
Frangello has created characters and atmosphere and story of such acuity and intelligence and intensity that it is impossible to over-praise.
James A. Boring

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roger W. Wright on January 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Not only will this keep you reading till all hours of the night.

You won't be able to sleep when you're done.

At it's heart: it's a riveting story. Behind the curtain of this story, there is a towering intelligence pulling the cranks, blowing whistles, and letting out the steam of everything from Freud, to grunge bars to feminist theory to the souless chasm of the suburbs. But the intelligence never gets in the way of the story.

Twin sisters navigating the Clinton years and family wars perhaps as old as time. Set with complete and total realism in Chicago and the Northern Suburbs of the city. Language that holds nothing back.

This book will probobly never make it on to Oprah. (If it did, prepare for a seismic shift in the elevation of true literature in our society) It does not have the pat, feel good cliches of an author telling us how to think and feel warm and cozy. Nothing here that feels like fresh baked cookies. This book is somebody else's expensive scotch guzzled too fast at 2:00 am with a momentary ally in the creepy dark sleet of winter night.

This is an author holding up a mirror to these riveting characters and letting the reader SEE the reflections. The effect is that, just like great music, a lot of the power is what is NOT said, the pauses, the missing pieces as we catch a reflection---not totally sure what we saw--but compelled by the power of the story to keep reading. Keep reading.

You won't forget this story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doug on June 28, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book will grab you quickly and take you into an ultra real world of two beautiful and intelligent female twins who are both struggling with their lives and especially their relationships with men. It is told through the eyes of one of the twins who is in therapy to help her cure an ongoing irritable bowel problem and also through a clever approach where she superimposes interpretations and understanding of her twin sister through reading her journals after she has left and then telling her story in her own voice. But the thing that keeps you spellbound and interested like a voyeur is the very real sexual and sometimes self destructive behavior each of the girls exhibit while they search for love and happiness, at the same time doing things that are way out there on the kinkiness scale. And yet, by the time the book is over, amazingly, we love them both and understand them both and feel nothing but compassion and hope.

There are other excellent characterizations, the well meaning and alcoholic father, the stern and icey cold mother, the therapist and three very different boyfriends who are trying to understand and help the girls through their dysfunctional lives, yearning for love and sex.

The writing is mature, full of metaphors which help us follow the girls' journies through madness and to a lesser extent, redemption. This book is no frilly, happy little romance novel. It is just the opposite, an almost brutal look into real life and understanding of the psychology of dysfunctional, yet normal, human relationships. The genius of the author is her ability to delve into these abnormal yet very interesting sexual and emotional needs of people through the Freudian approach. I loved the book and feel enhanced.

I hope there is a follow-up book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Angela Stubbs on June 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is completely amazing. I haven't read a book this good in over a year or more. Honestly, you won't be able to put the book down. Not only does Frangello address a wide range of issues from AIDS, sexual abuse, anorexia, sibling rivalry and relationships in general, she has a unique way of crafting this very real, very disturbing web of family and dysfunctionality into something that matters. I could not put this book down. The story mirrors Freud's case story of Dora, which in my opinion is pretty deep, disturbing stuff to begin with but Frangello then took that blue print and created one of the most moving and depressing stories while keeping hope and redemption alive in this novel. I'm truly astounded at the quality of writing, the research that had to have gone into this novel and really for Chiasmus Press for publishing this great work. And my fellow Bookslut co-hort has nailed it when she said she found herself holding her breath through a would-be sex scene. There are several moments in the book where you find your self caught up in this anticipatory frenzy--all of which lends to the "can't-put-it-down" factor. Please read this book. You'll be thinking about it for days after you've finished.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James A. Boring on February 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
What a story! As if the author brought all the Karamazovs back to life in modern Chicago, condensed them into twin sisters, put gags over their mouths, and made them try to articulate the motives and passions of the demons that possessed them. Dora would be pleased. Sigmund would be pleased. Schroedinger would be pleased. I am overwhelmed.

The characters are vivid and real, their language flows like blood and burns like Scotch on their wounds, self-inflicted and otherwise. Written and edited to perfection. I couldn't put it down. There is awe associated with the novel. Frangello has created characters and atmosphere and story of such acuity and intelligence and intensity that it is impossible to over-praise.
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