From Publishers Weekly
Niffenegger, author of the two-plus-million-copy bestseller The Time Traveler's Wife
, showcases her artistic talent in an oversized "novel in pictures" she calls "the book of my heart, a fourteen-year labor of love." It's the strange and haunting story of three sisters who "lived together in a lonely house by the sea, near the lighthouse, miles away from the city." Blonde Bettine is the youngest and prettiest, redhead Clothilde is "the most talented" and blue-haired Ophile, the eldest, is considered the smartest. When lightning kills the lighthouse keeper, his son, Paris, arrives to take his place; Paris and Bettine quickly fall in love and conceive a child. Jealous Ophile misbehaves badly; psychic Clothilde communes with the unborn baby, whom she names the Saint; and Bettine and Paris run away to the city, where tragedy strikes. Niffenegger's spare, full-page, sepia-toned aquatints ("an idiosyncratic, antique" medium) are evocative and Gorey-esque; they tell the story more than the minimalist prose does. And Niffenegger's afterword is illuminating, both about the process of making aquatints and about her productive methods of procrastination: The Time Traveler's Wife
, she reveals, "started its life as the project I played with when I should have been finishing Sisters
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*Starred Review* Niffenegger, author of the best-selling novel The Time Traveler's Wife
(2003), is an accomplished artist as well as an imaginative writer, and she now presents a shivery fairy tale in the form of an eerily beautiful novel-in-pictures. The minimal yet spooky text faces dramatically nuanced full-page prints portraying three grown, orphaned sisters. Bettina, the youngest, is a lovely blond; Ophile, the unhappy eldest, has blue hair; Clothilde, in the middle and in a world of her own, is a redhead. The svelte sisters possess extravagantly long hair and tapering, expressive hands; wear clinging, gray, ankle-length dresses; and are as powerfully evocative as dancers in a Martha Graham production. They live harmoniously in "a lonely house by the sea" until the late lighthouse keeper's handsome son, Paris, appears and falls in love with Bettina, who soon becomes pregnant. Clothilde, whose esoteric talents include levitation, communes happily with her in utero nephew, while Ophile goes mad with jealousy. Niffenegger's grim yet erotic tale and stunningly moody gothic prints possess the sly subversion of Edward Gorey, the emotional valence of Edvard Munch, and her very own brilliant use of iconographic pattern, surprising perspective, and tensile line in the service of a delectable, otherworldly sensibility. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved