Pieces of My Sister's Life

Elizabeth Arnold, Author . Bantam $6.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-385-34065-6

Arnold's winning debut centers on a pair of identical twins, Kerry and Eve Barnard, who once “had one face, one body,” one friend (Justin) and any number of abandonment issues. Having been left by their mom at age seven, the still-smarting sisters are crushed when, 10 years later, their father drowns off the coast of their small Block Island, R.I. town. Though they've no one else to turn to but each other, the twins quickly drift apart; introspective Kerry clings to Justin, a few years their senior, and dreams of a future with him. Eve, a competitive flirt, schemes to win Justin for herself—while also pursuing a congressman and a police officer. The framing narrative finds Kerry looking back at the fateful summer from 13 years on and, while Eve is dying of cancer, struggling to face her sister and find peace for them both. It sounds confusing, but debut novelist Arnold never loses control of the complex interplay between past and present. Though a touch melodramatic, this well-observed story is vibrant and rich with the subtleties and nuances of family life; fans of Luanne Rice should clear a space in their beach totes. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/04/2007
Release date: 07/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 480 pages - 978-0-385-34065-6
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