Saturday, March 26, 2011

Book Review: "The Weird Sisters"

Eleanor Brown's debut novel The Weird Sisters (Amy Einhorn Books, 2011) makes for a most enjoyable read. The titular sisters are the three daughters of a Shakespeare scholar—thus their names: Rosalind (Rose), Bianca (Bean) and Cordelia (Cordy)—and we meet them all as they are headed home. Their mother is ailing, but each of the sisters has met with a bump in the road as well, and the only place to go is back to Barnwell, the rural college town of their youth.

The book is narrated in first person plural, as if by all three sisters at once. This put me off a bit at the beginning, in the same way that Wolf Hall did, but once I got used to the style all was smooth sailing. The sisters, each with her own problems and concerns to deal with, must come to grips with their mother's illness, their father's near-inscrutability (it's a rare event when something other than a Shakespeare quotation crosses his lips), and decide whether Barnwell is truly the place for her.

Brown has seeded the book with some absolutely fantastic lines; I lost track of how many times I laughed out loud. The different dynamics she's built up—between the sisters themselves, between the sisters and their parents, the sisters and the men in their lives—all were cooked to perfection. And there is much here for any reader to delight in, from the examination of the sisters' different reading styles to the small-town library one of them rediscovers (and of course, the Shakespeare quotations).

A delightful novel of family, love, and choices. Or perhaps Shakespeare himself described the novel best, in a (slightly-ripped-from-context-but-appropriate) line from Two Gentlemen of Verona: The Weird Sisters is "a deep story of a deeper love."

1 comment:

jgodsey said...

oh damn....another book i must have!