Today, I’m back with a review of one of my favourite reads this year. It’s the latest novel from Man Booker Prize shortlisted author, Daisy Johnson with Sisters.
I’m so excited to talk about this brilliant novel, Sisters by Daisy Johnson. I really loved this book, but first… what is it about? Here is the synopsis:
Desperate for a fresh start, their mother Sheela moves them across the country to an old family house that has a troubled life of its own. Noises come from behind the walls. Lights flicker of their own accord. Sleep feels impossible, dreams are endless.
In their new, unsettling surroundings, July finds that the fierce bond she’s always had with September – forged with a blood promise when they were children – is beginning to change in ways she cannot understand.
Taut, transfixing and profoundly moving, Sisters explodes with the fury and joy of adolescence.
It is a story of sibling love and sibling envy that fans of Shirley Jackson and Stephen King will devour.
Sounds good, right? Daisy Johnson is a author I have been reading to read for ages but it just didn’t feel like the right time to focus on the books but I read and finished Everything Under last week and inhaled it – it is just a beautiful, brilliant book. I read it because I was so excited to read Sisters, her latest novel, which I couldn’t bare to put down.
Sisters is a novel about two sisters, July and September – born ten months apart. We follow them as they move across the country into an old family house that is a character all of its own. In the house, July realises her relationship with September is changing, adapting. I’m not going to go too much into the plot because it’s a delicious plot to get your teeth into and to just go along with the ride as the twists and turns hit you.
Daisy Johnson is a beautiful and haunting writer. It is sharp, yet delicate, it’s writing that gets under your skin and won’t let you go. I couldn’t bare to put the book down. It’s short and slim but big on ideas, big on gothic writing, it’s funny, emotional, dark, gripping.
There are so many themes in the novel to explore: sibling love and envy, mother/daughter dynamic, nature, supernatural, memory, mental health, family, grief, sexuality, and so much more. I also loved how she wrote about adolescence – about growing up, about the pressure of social media, of bullying, of moving away from your past and growing away, drifting to something or someone new.
“This is the year we are houses, lights on in every window, doors that won’t quite shut. When one of us speaks we both feel the words moving on our tongues. When one of us eats we both feel the food slipping down our gullets. It would have surprised neither of us to have found, slit open, that we shared organs, that one’s lungs breathed for the both, that a single heart beat a doubling, feverish pulse.”
I loved how Johnson wrote the complexities of a relationship between siblings. I loved how we got the perspective of Sheela, their mother, who is battling with depression. Through her, we get to know more about the relationship between the sisters. It is as if they are in their own secret world, talking in their own secret language, playing their own made-up games.
This is a book that I still can’t stop thinking about. It really gripped me to the very end. This just shows Daisy Johnson at her best – complex relationships, brilliantly gothic and gorgeous, silky-smooth prose. I just know it is a book that I am going to read again and again. It deserves all of the awards, and more.
I’m not a huge reader of gothic/horror but after reading this, I am going to start reading Shirley Jackson novels, perhaps in October. I can’t wait and I can’t wait to read what Daisy Johnson has in store next.
I loved Everything Under and Sisters is just something breathtaking. I am about to start Fen, her short story collection and I can’t wait.
I’m also listening to the audiobook of Sisters, too. I hate audiobooks but I just knew that this would be a beautiful audiobook and it is. It’s narrated by Daisy Edgar-Jones who does a brilliant, perfect job as July and September. Anna Koval reads the perspective from Sheela who, again, does a brilliant and haunting performance.
I loved Sisters. It is a gripping, gothic, brilliant adventure that is a perfect book to read on a rainy weekend.
Have you read Sisters? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!