Sisters – Daisy Johnson

READ FOR BOOKCLUB

Chosen by Rachel

The story of a darkly intense sisterly relationship that examines where one person ends and the other begins

⫸ Born ten months apart, July and September are almost like twins. They do not look the same, they do not have the same personalties, but they are becoming inseparable and September increasingly exhibits dark influences over July.

Their closeness allows no one else entry into their lives, not friends, not boyfriends, and not their mother, Sheela. The closer she tries to get to the girls, the more September bars her from their insular dynamic. Sheela begins drawing the girls into her fantastical children’s books in order to feel connection to them.

One day there is an incident at school which creates a divide between the sisters. The narrator July cannot understand their shifting bond, nor September’s moodiness. Then, one day, it all becomes apparent.

The look in their eyes when she came across them, the sudden silence that fell and that she could not quite break into. The sound of her banal chatting as she tried to befriend them. Her own children. The things that teachers said about them at school: isolated, uninterested, conjoined, young for their age, sometimes moved to great cruelty.

⫸ This psychological thriller builds tension right from the opening page, slowly but evenly paced so I was wondering what the truth was from the start, and changed my predictions every few pages! In the end I realised I was never going to work out the complex relationships at play. Yet re-reading the opening chapter made me realise the clues were there all along. There is certainly a sense of dread and wonder all the way through the book and the innate feeling that something oppressive and unnatural is lurking in the shadows. I loved this book. Finishing it made me want to re-read it all again. – Rachel

Sisters had a haunting quality right from the start and my assumptions about the exact cause of the ‘haunting’ were wayyy off track. This was an uncomfortable yet compelling read and I think Daisy Johnson did a brilliant job of getting the reader completely invested before the shocking reveal. Well I found it shocking – more astute readers may not! – Suzy

⫸ Johnson’s story telling was exceptional. I was captivated through out the entire novel. It could get a little weird at times but was quite intriguing as I never quite knew what was going on! Don’t let that bother you, it was a fascinating read. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to try something a bit different. – Jodie

⫸ The tension of wondering what had happened re the bullying incident was nicely balanced with the present story. I was suspicious about July’s activities but didn’t understand how they could be. A brutal situation for all involved with a domestic violence (albeit not in the usual way) theme becoming more and more alarming as the details were revealed. I wish July could have moved on but that wouldn’t have made for a very good ending – the one given was much bleaker and made the book all the more better for it. I enjoyed this book but would only recommend to selected hardened readers! – Jo

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Published 2020
Riverhead Books
224 pages

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