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'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.


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 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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