Sunday, February 07, 2021

Six of the best novels about sisters

Leslie Archer is the nom de plume of a New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five novels, including The Girl at the Border.

[The Page 69 Test: The Girl at the Border; Writers Read: Leslie Archer (December 2018); My Book, The Movie: The Girl at the Border]

His new novel is Until We are Lost.

At CrimeReads, Archer tagged six novels he's "read and loved, that deal with what life is like for two sisters, in different countries, with different values, and even in different time periods. But one thing connects them all: they are presented to us in three thrilling dimensions with all their frailties, their unresolved desires, and their bitter-sweet experiences intact." One title on the list:
Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino

Deservedly famous in her native Japan, Natsuo Kirino remains mostly undiscovered here in America. Ostensibly a crime novel, this is more the psychological pain inflicted on one sister, the unnamed narrator by her gorgeous sister, Yuriko. The two girls are in Q High School and the pressures on teenagers in this setting is starkly laid out, as is every other aspect of Japanese culture on which the book touches. The narrator comes to hate her sister, her family, and everyone around her, isolating herself. On the other hand, Yuriko discovers the effect she has on young men and decides to make her living as a prostitute. The depiction of that life on the nighttime streets of Tokyo is harrowing. When Yuriko and her streetwalker friend are both murdered in the same gruesome fashion, the narrator puts aside her hatred for her sister. In the process, she discovers Yuriko’s journal. The rigidness of Japanese society, limiting the ability of women to navigate it successfully is just as trenchant as the revelations of the bond between the two sisters and how that changes the narrator’s life for good.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue