Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My Sister's Continent

I've had one book on the brain for the past 2 months, so I thought I'd post about it. It's called My Sister's Continent - it's by Gina Frangello (and this is her first novel that I know of, which blows my mind). It takes Freud's work Dora, and turns it on its head. It's about a set of identical twins in their early 20's living in Chicago. One twin is returning home defeated - a back injury has essentially killed her promising ballet career. She has a particular affinity for pain. The other twin is having horrible stomach problems before her impending marriage to her frat-guy college boyfriend. Everyone assumes these problems are psychological.
This is one of the first modern (and by this I mean written in the past few years... maybe I mean POSTmodern??) books I've read dealing with female sexuality that isn't on some level insulting or patronizing - these are dark, complicated, unapologetic characters. The language is spectacular. There is also a mystery of sorts to solve, because you discover through a letter at the beginning of the book that one of the twins has disappeared, and the other is looking for her. Each character is desperately trying to deal with his/her own odd psychosis, and therapy sessons are prominently featured. Some of the scenes were distinctly unpleasant. But the book won't get out of my head, which I suppose means I need to read it again.
Every review I've read compares it to The Thin Place, by Kathryn Davis (the book I was looking up when I discovered this one instead). That will probably be the next book I buy when I'm no longer broke. I've got to hand it to Amazon.com's "if you bought this book, you'll probably like..." recommendations. I have to wonder how many other fantastic books are out there, published by independent presses, that I have no clue about because I just haven't stumbled across them. You used to be able to trust Barnes and Noble's "Discover New Writers" program, but now it's mostly lame-sounding gimmicky fiction. Of course, every book I've read since My Sister's Continent seems lame and gimmicky... that's what's dangerous about reading good books.

4 Comments:

Blogger David Walthour said...

Thanks for posting such a great review of Gina's book!

12:47 PM

 
Blogger Absinthe said...

This was the best book I've read in possibly years...do you know her?

12:55 PM

 
Blogger David Walthour said...

She's my wife :-)

2:35 PM

 
Blogger David Walthour said...

BTW, the smiley is because I am happy she's my wife, not because I am joking with you.

2:50 PM

 

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