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Comment: exlibrary hardcover book with mylar jacket, usual library marks; book shows reader wear throughout
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The Sister Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 17, 2008

3.3 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Estranged sisters Ginny and Vivien Stone reunite after 50 years, releasing a flood of painful memories in Stone's eerie, accomplished debut. Ginny and her younger sister Vivien lead an idyllic childhood in West Dorset, England, until Vivien nearly dies in an accident (the aftermath of which takes decades to unravel) when Ginny is 11 and Vivien is eight. Later, after the pair is expelled from school, a 15-year-old Vivien moves to London, and Ginny stays behind, covering up her mother Maud's alcoholism while trying to assist her father, Clive, with his research on moths and butterflies. After Maud's death and Clive's subsequent dementia, Ginny lives alone in the massive house, a brilliant but increasingly reclusive scientist whose insular world is cracked open when Vivien announces her desire to return and live out her days with Ginny. Long-buried secrets float to the surface as Ginny narrates with scientific precision her life's slow disintegration. Though the lepidopterological jargon and asides can slow things down, Adams expertly captures Ginny's voice and the dynamics of a deeply troubled family as the book barrels toward its chilling conclusion. (June)
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From The New Yorker

This suspenseful first novel is set in a crumbling Dorset mansion and features two aging sisters, reunited after a separation of nearly fifty years. Virginia is the sensible older sister who stayed, carrying on the family tradition of lepidopterology, while the reckless and free-spirited Vivien left to lead a cosmopolitan life in London. The story, told from Virginia’s eerily limited perspective, involves their parents’ descent into sadistic and capricious behavior, an accident in Vivien’s youth that left her unable to have children, and a plan that she had for her husband to impregnate Virginia instead. Adams creates an engrossing atmosphere of gothic mystery, but many of the psychological dramas come to feel like set pieces rather than like genuine conflicts.
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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (June 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616880406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616880408
  • ASIN: 0307268160
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,967,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am struck from the start with the eerie déjà vu of this strange tale, two sisters reunited in the rambling Victorian home in the Dorset countryside after fifty years. Ginny has always lived here, but for a few years of schooling with her vivacious younger sister. Vivi left home long ago, not content to bury herself in her father's extensive interests in lepidopterology, the scientific study of moths and butterflies. Many rooms in the rambling Bulburrow Court are dedicated to such study, an entire library of specimens, as well as the artifacts of generations of relatives, the mansion grown thick with antiques, furniture, books and priceless collectibles. Like a colorless moth, Ginny has clung to this place since her youth and through the death of her mother, Maud, who falls to her death down the cellar stairs. Later, when her father, Clive, sinks into dementia, Ginny remains the sole inhabitant of a slowly decaying fortress against progress.

It is this author's skillful weaving of subtle threat and poisonous jealousy that fills the chapters with an aura of unsettling, indefinable menace. Ginny's voice carries the narrative, recounting childhood memories of Vivi, the steadfast, reliable elder sibling who holds the family together when Vivi sets out to conquer the world. The sad results of a childhood accident taint the joy of Vivi's existence, robbed of the one thing she desperately wants but cannot have. In her endless capacity for appeasement, Ginny endures a great personal sacrifice on her sister's behalf, but as we eventually learn, she exacts terrible payment from those she favors.
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Format: Hardcover
THE SISTER by Poppy Adams is a novel with "hidden agendas" narrated by the book's most puzzling and complex character (Ginny). The reader meets the narrator/protagonist in the very first page of the book when she is anticipating the return of her sister Vivian after a lengthy absence. When the novel begins, the reader is filled with hope and anticipation as to why this sister is returning and what kind of a homecoming this will be. At the onset there are hints that this is a welcome reunion which might diminish Ginny's isolation. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are all sorts of things that the reader learns and figures out solely on their own as they discover the tricks that the human mind can play on a person. It is quite a good psychological probe into the human mind in its varied states.

The book could have been filled with all sorts of answers to the many questions that the reader would have after meeting the Stone family . However, for some inexplicable reason, many more facts were given which validated the behavior of moths versus the behavior of Ginny or other characters. If you are interested in moths and their unique characteristics and features; this book is most definately the one for you. I am not too keen on insects so you can figure out already how delighted I must have been with these extensive discussions.

Overall, there was a Hitchcock atmosphere to the novel and if you are a reader who likes to come to your own conclusions, then you will love this book; if you like well developed characters and like to trust in the validity of your narrator; then this novel will twist and undermine your literary beliefs. I found the book and the plot development unsettling; but the ending did surprise and maybe at a deeper level even shock me.
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10 Comments 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I'm glad I got this book from the library but I'm annoyed (at myself) for spending the afternoon reading it. I skimmed most of the - very large - sections on moths, because...well, because it was about moths. But. most annoyingly, the ending didn't answer any questions and I have a problem with that. I didn't expect, or want, a happy ending tied up in a bow (I actually hate that) but seriously - we're to GUESS why Viv came back, what was up with the eerie doctor visits in Ginny's childhood, what EXACTLY happened to Maude, with Clive, why did Eileen suddenly show up, what was wrong with Ginny (Asperger's I'm guessing), was she REALLY a famous moth expert or was that in her head, why would Maude say Ginny "ruined" her life.....among other questions.

I honestly can't believe people LIKED this book and gave it 4 or 5 stars. If you value your time, and want to read something good, stay the heck away from this book and read Jo Nesbo.
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Format: Hardcover
Clive Stone is a lepidopterist - one of the most respected in the field. And, when she grows up, his daughter Ginny follows in his footsteps, first as his assistant, then as a renowned specialist in her own right. Clive's wife Maud is his direct opposite - vivacious to his staidness, extravagant to his self-containment, warm to his reserved. And second daughter Vivien takes after her mother. One happy family divided right down the middle. . . Why then, having been expelled from prep school, does Vivi abruptly leave the bucolic 'if somewhat creepy', Victorian mansion that the Stones call home? As The Sister opens, that is the central question, because Vivi is about to return after an absence of nearly 50 years, most of it filled with silence. Narrated by Ginny, whom the villagers eye warily and refer to as "The Moth Woman", as the story progresses, more and more questions emerge, usually heralded by a trenchant remark by Ginny. And chapter by chapter, the ambience grows menacing. Some of the turns and tangles that drive this plot are foreseeable, and some less so. But its mood develops increasingly gothic undertones, sinister and stony. It is obvious that Ginny is mentally ill, but what of the other members of this strange quartet? . . The Sister is not a comfy family saga, but despite it's menacing aspect, the narrative sometimes grows too introverted and rather flat. The detailed information about lepidoptery in parts is repulsive. But its ending truly comes as a shock, an unanticipated solution to Ginny's disturbed emotional state. To which sister does the title refer? I'm still trying to decide.
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