My Sister's Picture

Cathy Arden, Author Simon & Schuster $17.45 (239p) ISBN 978-0-671-50467-0
Not until the death of Doren, her beloved, frail but protective older sister, did the author, robust but more timid, come to know her through journals, notebooks, poetry and an unfinished novel. Skipping back and forth in time and alternating quotations from the writings of both women, Arden recalls their close though competitive relationship, through a stormy childhood of parental discord, adolescence and young womanhood accompanied by a succession of male companions. The survivor reflects upon the joy and pain the sisters caused each other, and wonders how truthful Doren was in her journals and how much of her real feelings are concealed. Of the more than two years in Manhattan watching her sister succumb, at 33, to the ravages of cancer, Arden recounts that she observed the dying woman with intensity in an effort to ""memorize'' her. In deeply felt passages and poems she states that she learned that one must ``love without taking on someone's pain.'' (September 18)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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