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Tuesday September 02, 2014
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Curtis Sittenfeld

 

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fictionalize the life of Laura Bush. Her new novel, Sisterland, is the story of twin sisters who appear to be blessed or cursed with psychic powers.

One of their author's many strengths is that she can write about this without either irony or belief. The unconventional sister, Violet, develops her abilities and becomes a professional fortune teller. Kate chooses marriage and motherhood and ignores, even sacrifices, her psychic talents. I am not a trustworthy judge of Sittenfeld's much-praised portrayal of the lives of women, but I have a sibling, and this writer's picture of the conflicts and often-extreme loyalties between sibs is spot on.

Sisterland's plot turns around a prediction that Violet has made--that St. Louis will be hit by a major earthquake on a day that her reluctant sister has specified. As the twins, the nation, and Sittenfeld's readers wait to see if the prediction comes true, we learn the personal history that has shaped their lives and perhaps even this prediction itself.

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