Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Story Sisters

The Story Sisters
Alice Hoffman

Shaye Areheart Books, 2009. 325 pgs. Fiction

The Story sisters are three in number, which is fortunate as three is a number of auspicious significance. Elv, Meg and Claire all look alike with their pale skin and dark hair. They are close in age and closer in sympathy. But it is Elv who is perhaps the most beautiful, and with a gift for story-telling she inherits from her mother Elv creates a separate faerie world for she and her sisters, with a secret language and bonding rituals that completely envelop them. But, good fortune turns on the girls the summer before their parents’ divorce and into their secret world creep demons and dark shadows and evil things that can’t be spoken.
Hoffman explores the relationship between the three girls and their mother—the intimacy that exists and the perils that befall them. It is a story of lost innocence and lost dreams but, is also a story of survival and acceptance. There is a bit of beauty in Hoffman’s style, but it’s equally disturbing and I'm still reeling. The author weaves a tale of darkness and loss, so painful that not one woman remains intact from the hurt that bruises and then breaks them. The novel is raw and intense, but utterly mesmerizing. Hoffman’s depiction of some harsh realities won’t appeal to everyone, but for those in search of a literary take on the chick-lit genre this might be one to tackle.

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