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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Three Incestuous Sisters

Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Rating: 5/5
Challenge: Heck of it

I'm a fan of Audrey Niffenegger, having fallen in love with The Time Traveler's Wife, but this book has a rather off-putting title, in addition to being short on words. However, Dewey's review hooked me, and I figured I could use a break from reading overly wordy books, so I got it from the library.

Niffenegger describes the book as a visual novel, and you could think of it as a dreamy picture book for adults. The words are few, so the story is carried by the gorgeous pictures which are spare and imaginative.

The three sisters, Clothilde, Bettine, and Ophile live in a house by the sea. While Clothide lives in a detached world of her own, her two sisters gradually lock themselves into a battle over Bettine's suitor, Paris. Ophile becomes jealous, and when Bettine becomes pregnant, Ophile's desperation leads to tragedy to the family. Redemption doesn't come until many years later, when Clothilde is reunited with Bettine's child.

Does that sound like a weird plot for a visual novel? It's really not, because everything does work together. This book simply cements Niffenegger in my mind as a genius. Not only can she tell a story in words, she can tell one in pictures. I so wish I had talent at drawing, so I could write my own visual novel.

What is really great about this book is I will probably reread it once or twice more before I have to bring it back to the library, and I have the feeling it will be even more enjoyable.


Melody said...

This book has definitely caught my attention! I have never read anything by this author, but this sounds good. And does that mean the pictures are illustrated by the author herself? Wow, that's impressive. :)

Debi said...

Beautiful review, Kim! Wow, I just keep hearing nothing but good things about this one.

Nymeth said...

A dreamy picture book for adults. What a perfect description!

Kim L said...

melody-yes, she created the pictures herself, they are called aquatints. And DO read the Time Traveler's Wife. An amazing book as well!

debi-yup, its definitely worth reading!

nymeth-thank you. :-)

Stephanie said...

Some people are just so darn talented!

Chris said...

I've been dying to read this one. Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorite books. I agree with you...the woman is a genius. Her short story in Four Letter Word was amazing too. She has another book like this out's called The Adventuress. I can't wait until she publishes her next novel!

Oh and I saw that you gave The Sister 2.5 stars...bummer! I didn't read your review though because I'm getting ready to read it :p But I tend to have the same taste in books as you, so I'm guessing I'll have similar feelings...ah well, can't like them all.

Andi said...

I read this one on a lark one morning (hungover) and definitely need to read it again. But it is quite brilliant. Niffenegger is a great artist and writer. It's unfair for anyone to be so darn talented!

Kim L said...

stephanie-I know! It isn't even hardly fair!

chris-yeah you win some you lose some. I wanted to like The Sister, but alas, it was not to be.

And I think Niffeneger is a genius. Really.

andi-I'm giggling picturing you reading that book with a hangover. It's kind of a trippy book.

And I want to absorb her talent by osmosis. Is that legal?