Sisters (★☆☆☆☆)


Lily Tuck   *   Atlantic Monthly Press   *   September 5, 2017   *   176 Pages

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Our unnamed narrator is unsure of her footing in her marriage. She constantly feels like she’s walking in the shadow of her husband’s ex-wife—never good enough, exciting enough, motherly or wifely enough. The book is presented as a series of short vignettes, almost like diary entries, and in each chapter the narrator shares various moments that inevitably made her feel insecure:  her stepdaughter’s wedding, an argument with her husband, a chance encounter with her husband’s ex, etc. The narrator’s worries and fears are most prominent, and not much actually happens in the story until the very end.

I don’t often give one star reviews, but this book earned it. It may be that Sisters is just over my head. I can easily imagine The New Yorker calling it elegant and tastefully restrained or some BS like that. To me it just felt tedious. And heavy handed. Also pretentious, irritating, and so very SERIOUS. It might very well be that author Lily Tuck didn’t really want her characters to be sympathetic, but it’s hard to read a book about people you don’t like—and not because they’re deliciously evil, but because they’re boring and basic and stupid. Good grief, this book has no soul.

If you’re looking for something written in a similar style about a woman trying to understand and navigate complicated life circumstances, I’d recommend reading Lillian On Life, Hausfrau, or My Name Is Lucy Barton. Truly, anything would be better than Sisters.

Advanced Reader Copy provided by publisher through Net Galley.

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