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Sisterland: A Novel Hardcover – June 25, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400068312
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400068319
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (495 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, July 2013: After tackling east coast prep school and the life of a first lady in previous works, writing about twin sisters with ESP might seem like a strange move for Curtis Sittenfeld. But Sisterland is not a book about what it means to live with psychic powers. Rather, it’s a deeply emotional study of two closely-linked siblings who share many similarities but ultimately choose different paths in life. Having grown up with a mild form of ESP—what they call “senses”—the twins are confronted with how to deal with their powers. One chooses to “go straight” and become a suburban housewife and mother, while the other sister drops out of college to become a medium. The ESP part is not overplayed, and the story bears all the hallmarks of Sittenfeld’s other novels: an exploration of adolescence and the choices that people make, expertly drawn inner monologues, an artist’s complete grasp of the little moments in life. This is a unique—and at times pitch perfect—take on family, loyalty, and how people deal with the vapor trails left by childhood. -- Chris Schluep

From Booklist

Twin sisters Kate Tucker and Violet Schramm are at the heart of Sittenfeld’s (American Wife, 2008) latest novel, which opens with a modest earthquake striking St. Louis. In the aftermath, Violet goes on television predicting that a much larger quake will hit the area, much to her sister’s horror. Kate has spent her life trying to shove aside the psychic abilities she and her sister share, choosing the safe confines of marriage and motherhood over nurturing her gifts the way Violet has. Violet’s prediction becomes national news, thrusting her into the spotlight and causing a mild panic in St. Louis. Kate finds herself under intense scrutiny as well, from acquaintances and even friends, including her husband’s colleague Courtney, a scientist who finds Violet’s prediction absurd. Sittenfeld alternates between the present and the past, revealing the Schramm sisters’ fraught childhood and complex relationship. A late-in-the-game twist makes the final pages fly, but the real strength of this moving story is Sittenfeld’s nuanced examination of the strength of familial bonds, whether they are between sisters or spouses. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A concerted promotional campaign will support the newest daring novel by best-selling Sittenfeld, while the film version of her big hit, American Wife, is in development. --Kristine Huntley

More About the Author

Curtis Sittenfeld is the bestselling author of American Wife, The Man of My Dreams and Prep. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times,The Atlantic Monthly, Salon, Allure, Glamour, and on public radio's This American Life. Her books have been translated into twenty-five languages. Visit her website at www.curtissittenfeld.com.

Customer Reviews

I found the ending a tad disappointing and a bit too much like a romance novel or soap opera.
Carol of Utah
The author leads you on to expect something "Big" to happen but ends up just leaving you disappointed.
Chelsey Osborn
Life is short and there are too many great books to read, so don't waste your precious time reading this one.
HistoryBuff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

113 of 120 people found the following review helpful By kacunnin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Curtis Sittenfeld's SISTERLAND is ostensibly the story of twin sisters born with precognition. Violet and Daisy grew up understanding that they had "senses," meaning the ability to foresee future events. As an adult, Violet (or Vi) embraces those senses, and makes them part of her everyday life - she aids the police in a kidnapping case and does readings for paying clients. Daisy (who changes her name to Kate during college) rejects her senses, and makes every effort to become a normal housewife raising two young children. When Vi senses that their hometown of St. Louis will suffer a massive earthquake on October 16, both her life and Kate's are thrown into chaos. Suddenly, a world-wide TV audience is obsessed with Vi, and Kate has an increasingly difficult time trying to seem normal.

But while the sisters' precognitive abilities form the backdrop of this story, SISTERLAND really has little to do with precognition. Do Vi and Kate really possess extra-sensory powers? Sittenfeld isn't particularly concerned with this. Kate's scientist husband, Jeremy, never really believes any of it - he sees Vi as a humorous eccentric and Kate as an over-protective mom who caters to her freaky sister out of a sense of twin loyalty. Similarly, Kate and Jeremy's best friends - geophysicist Courtney and her stay-at-home husband, Hank - don't put much credence in anything Vi has to say. But everyone gets along well enough, in spite of it. As October 16 approaches, some in St. Louis make plans to leave town, others have "Earthquake Parties," and Vi plans to milk her fifteen minutes of fame for all it's worth. But Kate, Jeremy, and their friends try to go on doing what they always do.
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132 of 163 people found the following review helpful By Spindrift VINE VOICE on May 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am a reader. It is what I do. I become enamored with, and follow the careers of authors the way others follow movie stars and sports figures. It is my version of being "starstruck". I once attended an event that featured the fascinating, Janet Fitch, author of the critical and commercial success, "White Oleander", and she confided to the audience that even after her phenomenal, successful debut effort, the critical and commercial hit, "White Oleander", her second book had been rejected by her publisher. I was astounded. How could a publisher reject anything written by Janet Fitch? She was honest with her fans that day, telling us that it was just not any good. She hadn't been asked to adjust it, or merely "tweek" it. She had to trash it and start over again. Eventually, Janet published the magnificent "Paint it Black" and everything was fine. But it does bring to mind the fact that perhaps some writers don't have more than one, or at the most two, good books in them. Everyone is familiar with Harper Lee's story. So I guess I should not have been so disappointed, at being so disappointed, in Curtis Sittenfeld's latest offering, "Sisterland". She has previously produced two stellar books. "American Wife" was on my top three of the year list a few years ago...it was fabulous. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of "Sisterland".

In my current state of being perplexed over this book, I want to avoid calling it a "hot mess". But I can't. Sittenfeld has mixed so many themes here and produced so many conflicting and ambiguous points of view (not to mention mind numbingly preposterous events occurring-- following one of Violet's "visions" the "Today Show" calls...pleease...) that I just have to think that she threw this one together like a last minute pot of soup.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By G. Lake on August 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I read this book because it looked promising. I enjoy stories about sisters, and twins, and psychics. I ended up reading the whole thing, even though I wanted to stop several times. The story started out well, but became tedious. It was very well-written, so I kept expecting the plot to pick up and get me hooked. This could have been a good book, but overall I think it was nonsensical and slightly boring. Especially toward the end- the main character acted like a whole other person and made me want to slap her silly. This book ended up reeking of oppression and repression, self-pity, and meekness. I now regard it as a waste of my time, because although I gave the story a determined chance, it did not live up to its potential.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. Fugate on November 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
It is very rare for me to be so wrapped up in a book that I read the entire thing in one day, but I couldn't put this one down. Then, when I finished it, I decided to read some of the customer reviews to see if other people felt the same way I did. Wow. So glad I didn't read them before I read the book, because after reading the one and two-star reviews, I'm afraid they might have convinced me not to bother with Sisterland. While a lot of the negative reviews were intelligently written and made some valid points, for the most part they seem to have been written by people who completely missed the point of the book. Some were frustrated because they wanted to read a book about psychic abilities, especially psychic twins, and that is only sort of what the book is about. It's about two sisters who may or may not be legitimately psychic, but whether they are or not, they believe that they are. This belief causes them to follow vastly different paths and lifestyles - one twin embraces her "abilities" and nurtures them in a way that is not always healthy, while the other twin runs from what she perceives as a curse, which causes her to behave in ways that aren't all that healthy either.

Other people were annoyed because they were expecting a book about an earthquake, which is only marginally what the book is about. While the book does contain actual earthquakes, the big earthquake is also a symbol of several events that shake the internal foundation of the characters. Some of the earthquakes are metaphorical. Several people also complained about the twist at the end, claiming it was unrealistic and there was no foreshadowing leading up to it.
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