The Dark Sister

Rebecca Goldstein, Author Viking Books $19.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-670-83556-0
Goldstein ( The Mind-Body Problem ; The Late-Summer Passion of a Woman of Mind ) has cleverly constructed a highly imaginative tale that commands close analysis. Hedda, a grotesque, tormented author of angry feminist novels, has exiled herself to a gloomy New England house, where her grim solitude is interrupted only by phone calls from her silly but dangerous sister, Stella. Hedda is writing a Victorian novel, in Henry Jamesian style, about Henry's brother William, the 19th-century psychologist. In the work, William is sent to study two sisters--one a brilliant recluse, the other possibly murderous--with pasts as murky as Hedda's. Characters are mirrored, parallel plots overlap and several dark sisters--gifted with imaginative intellects but viewed as morbidly deviant--are doomed to destruction. Although this book may at times seem an unstructured melange of repeated themes, images and phrases inspired by 19th-century literature, psychology, metaphysics and feminist history, its disjointedness is purposeful and provocative. Readers who persevere will be rewarded by this witty, literary tour de force. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-14-017247-8
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