Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Orphan Sister by Gwendolen Gross

This book is about three sisters in New Jersey and their parents. No, not really. This book is really about how you can be isolated and disconnected even while surrounded by people, how you can be the same as everyone else but be so different, how you can think you know everything but really know nothing, or, think you know nothing but really know everything.

The orphan sister is Clementine. Born as one of a set of triplets, her sisters are identical but she is fraternal. The three sisters share a strong bond, but the connection between the twins far outweighs anything they share with Clementine. Clementine’s parents’ relationship is also impenetrable to Clementine; it’s based mostly on lies and mutual avoidance of reality, and the dissolution of their marriage provides some of the only action in the book.

Clementine is the odd girl out, in so many ways, and Gross explores all of them. She writes beautifully of Clementine’s loneliness and confusion about where she fits and how she should live her life. Sometimes I wished that more things would happen in this book, but mostly I liked hanging around inside Clementine’s head as she explores her inner landscape and makes her own map of where she belongs.

(Book 21, 2011)


Espana said...
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