The Sister, by Poppy Adams

Cover ImageFinished 2-08-10, rating 3.5/5, fiction, pub. 2008

“No pictures, no clothes, no photos.  I mean, you’ve wiped out every reference to our past.  Our family might not have happened.  There was no point in its existing for the last two hundred years if it’s got nothing to show for itself.”

It is an interesting view but not one I share.  Is it really necessary to record your life in order to make it worthwhile or commendable?  Is it worthless to die without reference?  Surely those testimonials last another generation or two at most, and even then they don’t offer much meaning.  We all know we’re a mere fleck in the tremendous universal cycle of energy, but no one can abide the thought of their life, lived so intensely and exhaustively, being lost when they die, as swiftly and as meaningless as an unspoken idea.

Chapter 3

Ginny is an odd duck and a questionable narrator.  Her vivacious sister Vivian is returning to their Dorset, England home after 50 years away and Ginny is nervous, not sure why her younger sister is coming back.  Vivian left the house when she was just 15 years old for London where she lived, worked and fell in love.  Ginny stayed home to study moths with her father, a famous lepidopterist.  When Vivian asks her sister to help her have a child, Ginny said yes, unable to ever tell her sister no.

Vivian’s return home brought into focus that there is more than one way of looking at a childhood spent in the same house, two ways of looking at your parents and their motivations and sometimes even your own.  This was a dark look into the thoughts of a woman who seemed to have some struggle with reality.  Ginny had become a recluse and I thought at first the years alone may be why she was so strange, but that was not the case.  She billed herself as the sensible sister, a genius when it came to moths and keeping the family together, but by the end that is up for debate.

I did not like Ginny and never did connect with her.  As Ginny doled out facts, there was always something moving the story forward, so I was always interested, but the pages and pages about moths throughout the book really did slow the story down.  The story is strange and an interesting psychological study and the end totally threw me.  Actually, I’m still trying to piece together a few things that were purposefully left out and I’m not sure I’ll ever really figure it out.  If you can live with that then give this book a try.

This is from my personal library and was chosen for me by Jennifer and Sandee.  Here’s what Jennifer had to say…”I listened to this on audio and thought it was marvelous – not as good as The Thirteenth Story, but very, very good.”