One of several excellent pieces in this well-crafted anthology on the ties that bind sisters is the powerfully affecting essay "Last Things." In it, novelist Debra Spark writes movingly, humorously, and painfully of her sister Cyndy, who died of breast cancer at 26. Several other stories and essays have equally poignant origins, springing from siblings mired in illness or lost to violence, and written, of course, by the sisters who got away. Still, even the bleaker pieces hold lovely, ethereal moments and the relationships between sisters are full and complex. Warmth, love, hilarity, shared memories, and the fierce competition of blood rivals are well represented, too. In a bedroom shared by two young sisters in "My Gertrude Stein," Anita, the more intrepid, sensual one has the bed by the window. On hot, sticky nights she sleeps splayed across the sheets in "star position," describing breezes her sister is dying to feel. "It's exquisite," says Anita. "Like a cat brushing past. Like, like, no--now it's over."
From Publishers Weekly
The relationship between sisters, "both biological sisters and the larger cultural movement of feminism," is explored in two forms?fiction and nonfiction?in this anthology. The contributors, professional female writers, tell personal stories, analyze the significance of the sister journey and attempt to match the girls they were to the women they became, as one puts it. In the words of another (Letty Pogrebin), sister, though sweet, is also a "slippery" word. These essentially family stories contain elements of connectedness and separateness, pain, jealousy and, ultimately, understanding. The editor's stated intent, to pierce the silence surrounding sisters in our culture, is effected in these rich, often imaginatively rendered stories. Foster teaches writing at the University of Iowa.
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