Sisters by Daisy Johnson
English | 2020 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 2.0 MB
From a Booker Prize finalist and international literary star: a blazing portrait of one darkly riveting sibling relationship, from the inside out.
“One of her generation’s most intriguing authors” (Entertainment Weekly), Daisy Johnson is the youngest writer to have been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Now she returns with Sisters, a haunting story about two sisters caught in a powerful emotional web and wrestling to understand where one ends and the other begins.
Born just ten months apart, July and September are thick as thieves, never needing anyone but each other. Now, following a case of school bullying, the teens have moved away with their single mother to a long-abandoned family home near the shore. In their new, isolated life, July finds that the deep bond she has always shared with September is shifting in ways she cannot entirely understand. A creeping sense of dread and unease descends inside the house. Meanwhile, outside, the sisters push boundaries of behavior—until a series of shocking encounters tests the limits of their shared experience, and forces shocking revelations about the girls’ past and future.
Written with radically inventive language and imagery by an author whose work has been described as “entrancing” (The New Yorker), “a force of nature” (The New York Times Book Review), and “weird and wild and wonderfully unsettling” (Celeste Ng), Sisters is a one-two punch of wild fury and heartache—a taut, powerful, and deeply moving account of sibling love and what happens when two sisters must face each other’s darkest impulses.
Here we are. Here it is.
This the house we have come to. This the house we have left to find. Beached up on the side of the North York Moors, only just out of the sea. Our lips puckered and wrinkled from licking crisp salt, limbs heavy, wrought with growing pains. The boiling-hot steering wheel, the glare off the road. It has been hours since we left, buried in the backseat. Mum said, getting into the car, Let’s make it before night. And then nothing else for a long time. We imagine what she might say: This is your fault, or, We would never have had to leave if you hadn’t done what you did. And what she means, of course, is if we hadn’t been born. If we hadn’t been born at all.
I squeeze my hands together. Not being able to tell yet what the fear is of, only that it is enormous. The house is here, squatting like a child by the small slate wall, the empty sheep field behind pitted with old excrement, thornbushes tall as a person. The suck of stale air meeting new as I push the door open. The smell of manure. The hedges overgrown, the grass and weeds forcing their way through the concrete, the front garden narrow and gnarled up with odds and ends, ancient spade heads, plastic bags, shattered plant pots and their almost-living root balls. September up on the uneven garden wall, balancing, teeth clenched in what might or might not be a grin. The windows shuttered with the reflection of her body and of my face beyond, eyeholes like caverns and, beyond that, our mum leaning exhausted against the bonnet.
The white walls of the house are streaked with mud handprints and sag from their wrinkled middles, the top floor sunk down onto the bottom like a hand curved over a fist. Scaffolding heaped against one wall, broken tiles from the roof shattered on the road. I reach for September’s arm, wondering if I might push my teeth down into the skin to see if I can tell, by the contact, what she is thinking. Sometimes I can. Not with great certainty but with a numb buzz of realization. Like when Mum turns on the radios in different rooms and the timing is off just a little and you can stand in the corridor in between and hear them echoing. But she whirls away out of reach, cackling like a magpie.
I dig for a tissue in the bottom of my pocket, blow my nose. The sun is just starting to drop but still it burns on my bare shoulders. There are cough sweets in my pocket, soft with fuzz. I suck one into my cheek.