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Sister Paperback – June 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Mysteries & Horror
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (June 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380729768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380729760
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,521,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As Abigail Schiller prepares for the birth of her first child, she realizes her attempt to put down roots with husband Adam will never be secure until she resolves the heartache of her past. She had fled her family farm in Horton, Wisconsin, just after high school and had severed all ties with her pious Roman Catholic mother and bullying, distant father. But it was the disappearance of her brother that troubled her most. Sensitive and vulnerable as a boy, Abigail was his guardian angel. Later, he rebelled against his abusive father through run-ins with the law and eventually vanished. The torment of his absence finally drives Abigail to discover what happened, forcing her to return to the places and people she thought she left for good. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Intense and deeply affecting, Ansay's second novel (after Vinegar Hill and a short-story collection, Read This and Tell Me What it Says) is about loss?of human relationships, of religious faith and in the value of life?and about the mysterious process by which affirmation can again be achieved. It is also yet another story of a dysfunctional family, but Ansay explores this territory with restraint, creating a narrative that rings with emotional truth. From the perspective of marriage and prospective motherhood, narrator Abby Schiller reflects back on the years prior to her 17-year-old brother Sam's disappearance in 1984. As children, she and Sam are psychologically maimed by their bullying father, who brutally taunts them and insists that they conform to strictly differentiated gender roles. The manager of a Ford agency in a small rural township in Wisconsin, Gordon Schiller ridicules Sam's artistic interests, calling him a sissy; drives Abby to a nervous breakdown with his carping about purity and a woman's place in the home; and alienates their mother, Therese, who defiantly takes a job to achieve some independence. Sam, his gentle nature eventually corrupted by fear and anger, seeks salvation among druggies and punks who introduce him to violence. Abby is pulled back from the brink of despair by her devoutly Catholic grandmother. Later, however, when Abby breaks away from the Church, she incurs her grandmother's fury. With quiet assurance, Ansay conveys the atmosphere of a warm, tightly knit community permeated by Catholic observance, where belief in traditional marriage and a husband's preeminence gives some women security and others a lifelong sentence of servitude. Abby's difficult road to understanding, acceptance and a state of grace is related with beautiful control, and this heartbreaking novel resonates with wisdom about life's hard truths.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 1, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A writer of remarkable depth, A. Manette Ansay offers the selective reader a banquet of language in her novel, SISTER. The author fashions exquisite phrases that form perfect and fragile images. It is a joy to read such complexity after the current deluge of popular titles, dressed in the quise of 'simplicity', and seeming more often like 'women's books'. SISTER tells a story that slowly follows the evolution of a young Catholic girl and her brother, growing up on an emotionally barren Wisconsin farm. The sister and brother endure the changes wrought upon the family as the mother takes a part-time job, while the son's battle with his father escalates with the passage of time, until the son finally disappears w/o a trace. In the hollow years that follow her brother's disappearance, the girl becomes a distant spectator, unable to fill the hole left by her younger brother, unable to bridge the distance between parents, precariously close to losing herself in the process. This is a quiet, concise book, a tale particularly familiar to those who have shared this rigidly structured religious (Catholic) background. Thoughtfully crafted, SISTER is not a novel for everyone. But for certain readers it is a work of art, carefully hung against a bare wall in a gilt frame.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dianna Setterfield on August 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
I will admit to not getting into Sister as quickly as I did with Vinegar Hill or Midnight Champagne. But around the 5th chapter of so, something happened. The groove of the story began to make an impression on me, and suddenly I found myself savoring the pages that followed. And upon completion of this wonderful novel, A. Manette Ansay has finally and wholly proved herself to me to be an author of incomparable merit and style.
Sister tells the story of 30-year-old Abigail Schiller as she prepares for the birth of her first child. During the course of her pregnancy, Abby reflects upon her childhood and its many facets. Growing up in the Schiller household was not easy. Abby's mother, a rigid Catholic housewife, was always good to her, but tended to turn the other cheek when it came to her father, a strict disciplinarian with chauvinistic views of male and female roles. And then there was Sam, Abby's lovable younger brother whom she protected and adored. Finally, after years of constant torment that dug at him by the picking hands of his father, Sam runs away for good. And over ten years later, Abby realizes, as a mother-to-be, she needs to reconcile her feelings of loss and love for her brother in order for her to move forward in her own life.
Revolving between past and present, Sister's chapters delve into a seemingly normal childhood and its secret, dark undertones, then flash-forwards to a seemingly normal adult life where every movement has some direct correlation to a moment in the past. A beautiful and powerful novel with action told in whispers that quietly unfolds as the pages are turned. Not a novel of great activity and one that may be hard to get into at first, but certainly after novel's end, readers will be left with a feeling of awe and satisfaction. Tremendously readable. Ansay will remain on my bookshelf for life.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on June 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Sister, is the story of Abby Schiller, married, pregnant and still haunted by her abusive childhood and the disappearance of her younger brother over ten years ago. Now, as she's about to become a mother, Abby feels the need to revisit her past and put it to rest before the birth of her baby. And so she begins a journey to try to understand her abusive father, her mother, who always looked the other way and her sensitive, artistic brother who left at seventeen, never to be seen or heard from again. And what a journey it is. Ms Ansay is a wonderful, eloquent writer and the strength of her prose literally pulls you into the story and never lets you go. Her scenes are vivid and riveting. Her characters, beautifully drawn. This is a compelling story of love and loss, betrayal and finally forgiveness, written with honesty and insight. A powerful book in its own quiet way.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Few books have touched me as this one has. Ansay has faithfully reproduced the tensions of my own world and that of so many women who would eagerly hold to religious tradition if only we could find our place within it. Ultimately, however, this is not a story about institutionalized religion. It is about a women's search through the confusion of the present to make sense of the past. Sister is a wonderful story that offers food for the soul.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Beth on October 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I first read the author's book Vinegar Hill and enjoyed it a great deal. I felt compelled to read Sister and couldn't wait for it to arrive. Sister was a fast read. It was well written and very descriptive. I felt it was a realistic book, and something different from what I'd read before. It was truly entertaining. I lived for a time in rural Wisconsin in a deep Catholic community, and for me reading this book was like stepping back into time. The book kept me guessing throughout with it's story line. Although the ending of the book suprised me. I didn't expect it! Although I don't know if the book is for everyone, I found it to be a facinating read and enjoyed the authors writing style. She was so descriptive that I almost felt that I was there. I'd definitely recommend this book!
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