The Language of Sisters

Amy Hatvany, Author
Amy Hatvany. Washington Square, $15 trade paper (275p) ISBN 978-1-4516-8813-9
Reviewed on: 06/25/2012
Release date: 07/31/2012
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4516-8814-6
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Hatvany’s third novel (after Outside the Lines) grabs the reader with a disturbing premise, then gently relents as the characters follow a predictable linear path to the dénouement. Nicole is working in a bakery in San Francisco when she has a sudden urge to call her mother, from whom she’s been estranged for years. When she does, she hears tragic news: her mentally disabled sister, Jenny, has been raped by a nurse’s aide at the institution where she lives, and is pregnant. Nicole, who left her family a decade earlier due to her anger at her parents’ decision to place Jenny in a home, now must return to Seattle to help her sister and face her own choices. Once there, as a sort of penance for abandoning her family, Nicole removes Jenny from the institution and sees her through the pregnancy at their mother’s home. Her boyfriend back in San Francisco is less than supportive, and Jenny is forced to face the demons she left behind and analyze why her life isn’t what she had hoped for. After the initial shock of the setup, Hatvany eschews any possibilities at complicating her story line, instead following a disappointingly direct route to closure. Agent: Victoria Sanders. (Aug.)
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