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Sister Paperback – September 1, 2010
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Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Rosamund Lupton
We had the opportunity to chat with bestselling author Rosamund Lupton about her debut novel (and one of our Best Books of June 2011), Sister, via e-mail. Read on to see what Rosamund had to say about London, sisterhood, her next novel, and more:
Amazon.com: Before writing Sister, you worked for many years as a screenwriter. How does the process of writing a novel differ from writing for television?
Rosamund Lupton: When I was writing screenplays I was just one part of a creative process, it would take the talents of many other people to bring the screenplay to life. With a novel, you know what you type is the finished thing--there’s just me--and that feels both daunting and liberating. As a screenwriter I was often ticked off for "directing from the page" or "writing a novel not a script!" Now, I love being able to use as many words as I like to tell the story--a hundred thousand in the case of Sister--and being able to write the interior life of a character as well as their surface interactions.
Amazon.com: I love the way London almost becomes a character unto itself in this story. The city seems to mimic Beatrice’s emotional state while she searches for clues about Tess’s death. Why did you select London as the setting? Did you spend time exploring the places Beatrice visits?
Rosamund Lupton: I chose London as I know it so well, I’ve lived here for many years, and because, as you say, it possesses a chameleon quality to show a state of mind. For example, Hyde Park in the depth of winter is covered in snow and silent, with leafless trees and is so different from a bright Spring day when the trees and grass are green and there’s children paddling in the fountain. I’m not surprised its been used so often for films; it has a cinematic quality and at the beginning of the book it’s like a black and white film set to me. I already knew all the places Beatrice visits as they are close to where I lived for many years, or worked, so the city is like an old friend.
Amazon.com: Sister is written as a letter from Beatrice to Tess. Why did you choose to structure the novel this way?
Rosamund Lupton: At one point, Beatrice says to Tess, "it’s a one way conversation, but one I could only have with you." I felt that writing it this way continually demonstrates their intimacy. Also, as a former scriptwriter, I found it easier to tell the story as one character speaking to another; as if it’s one half of a dialogue.
Amazon.com: Did your relationship with your own sister impact how you crafted the relationship between Beatrice and Tess?
Rosamund Lupton: I know as an older sister how protective and responsible I’ve always felt towards my sister and I posed the question, what would you do if your sister went missing? I knew that Beatrice in the book would drop everything and get the first flight to find Tess--as I think almost any sister would do. Although Beatrice and Tess are very different from my sister and myself, the emotional truth of their relationship is one I know well. Like my sister and I, the closeness between them is made up of a million tiny details rather than simply the "big things." Some small details are drawn directly from my own life. For example, my sister and I wrote to each other at boarding school, and used jigsaw letters and ones with invisible ink.
Amazon.com: Can you tell us anything about your next novel?
Rosamund Lupton: It begins with a mother running into a burning school to rescue her teenage daughter. The book continues to be about how far a woman will go to protect her family. It’s ultimately about love not recognizing any boundaries.
Amazon.com: Sister is bound to be on a lot of summer reading lists. What are you looking forward to reading this summer?
Rosamund Lupton: I have a big pile of books that are looking so enticing, I can’t wait to have time to read them! At the top are Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad and Sarah Winman’s When God Was a Rabbit.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
There are several benefits to this approach. On the one hand, it fully captures the sense of helplessness and loss that Beatrice feels. Having been separated by an ocean, Beatrice returns to London from her New York home to try to come to terms with what has happened and piece together what could have happened through her knowledge of her younger sister, relating those thoughts directly to Tess, but also to the prosecuting lawyer in preparation for a trial. This creates a fractured kind of narrative that gives some indication of what is going on in her mind, as well interweaving past and present and lending the intriguing suggestion that, with a court case pending, there is a lot more to uncover.
More than that, it lends immediacy to the writing that also brings you closer to Tess, as you come to understand her relationship with her sister and family, events from the past coming to mind that shed light on her character - small but significant events that lead Beatrice to conclude that she couldn't possibly have taken her own life. But how can she convince everyone else that this is the case?Read more ›
Beatrice's younger sister, art-student Tess, has either committed suicide (official version) or been murdered (Beatrice's version) after giving birth to a stillborn child, who received a cutting-edge cystic fibrosis cure in utero. Bee flies home to England from New York, where she has been living, to cope with the aftermath of her sister's death. The story is a first-person narrative, delivered as if Bee is speaking across the space of death to her sister: apologizing, holding key facts back, rationalizing, explaining her own behavior, compensating-- in short, running through every human emotion and action that accompanies a severe shock and an immense grief. Bee's own process of self-discovery ties into her investigative process of the truth about her sister's death brilliantly: in finding the truth about her sister, Bee finds the truth about herself. Tess leads Bee to her own person through a twisting, winding path, and the journey is complex and wonderful.
As Bee breaks down everything that we supposedly know about her sister and everything she thought she knew about herself, she starts to build up new connections that she never would have thought possible: in the wake of death, Lupton shows us how we can rebuild life. Mothers, fathers, new friends, neighbors: all emerge as solidly-drawn portraits of the new people (or newly-realized) people in Bee's life, each with his or her own distinct personality, style of interaction, and way of dealing with death.Read more ›
used to the distance both geographically, and emotionally,
from her sister Tess and their mother. She uses it as an excuse,
in fact. After all, she is busy with her career and her own life.
A phone call from her mother calls her back across the Atlantic
when she learns that Tess is missing. Tess, who was pregnant, and
struggling, has not been seen for far too long.
It would be unfair to suggest that it was only guilt that sent
Beatrice to the airport, because she did love her family, when
it wasn't too inconvenient. So, leaving life, career and fiance
behind, she arrived in England as soon as was humanly possible
after she received the call.
Before long, Bea realizes what she has been missing, while letting
her family get on without her all of this time. All of the love and
closeness to Tess comes flooding back. With it there is fear. She truly
did love Tess, and when she found her sister's body, could not believe the
verdict of suicide due to psychosis after after the death of her baby. Tess
would never kill herself, Bea was sure. Even after finding the body, and learning
that the baby Xavier had died, Bea felt something was being missed, and so she
set out to find the truth on her own.
What follows is a griping story, one that has you sure that you have
come to the end of the mystery, only to find that there is yet another twist.
By the time this breathtaking story concludes, you will be breathless with the
build up and the climax.
Don't miss this one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm lying in my bed, in the dark, just having finished this book. I'm shaken and crying; that's how moved I am by this story. Read morePublished 19 hours ago by Priscilla
I struggled with my overall rating for this book, and finally settled on a so is 4-stars. I found the unraveling of the story complex, yet still clear enough to follow. Read morePublished 2 days ago by crmacgal
I thought it was a very interesting how the author chose to write this book. I would have liked more of an ending but what she wrote was adequate. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Jenniferianb
a successfull suspense novel. again-the british can write. the story is a bit far-fetched, characters are all unlikeable and boring but somehow r. Read morePublished 14 days ago by NGT
Great read- done in one go on a long plane flight!
Love the twist at the end. Would read more by Rosamund Lupton
I borrowed this book from my library and I couldn't put it down. Lupton writes a suspenseful,story of two sisters and one sisters tragic end. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Callie Prie
This was a haunting story. At times I thought it dragged on but I couldn't put it down. A story of a sisters love. Very powerful.Published 1 month ago by Pauline J. Cambridge
Can't say enough great things about this book. Excellent writing! Deeply emotional mystery told almost entirely as a letter from one sister to another.Published 2 months ago by SteinbeckLiz