Friday, May 1, 2009

book review: the sisters antipodes by jane alison

Sentence worth remembering: "Where we're from, where home is supposed to be, seems so nebulous, at the intersection of blood and place." (page 55)

The Sisters Antipodes
, a memoir, begins with novelist Jane Alison's childhood. When she was four, her parents developed a close friendship with another couple with two daughters of nearly identical looks and ages. Both men were diplomats. The two couples swapped spouses, and The Sisters Antipodes is Alison's recounting, through diaries she kept as a child and her own memoirs, of what happened and how she came to greater understanding as she grew up.

Jane Alison is a beautiful writer. I adore her prose. Marriage of the Sea is one of my favorite books. I always enjoy the opportunity to learn more about novelists. It's wonderful to discover the elements of themselves and their loved ones they incorporate into their fiction.

The Sisters Antipodes
was interesting, but it didn't grow throughout the memoir. Alison's writing was mesmerizing throughout, but I found the events less interesting as the book wore on. It almost the opposite of a celebrity tell-all. Alison tells little, as she perhaps knows little of her parents' stories, but she analyzes and pontificates extensively. If you're a fan of introspective memoirs (or even novels), then you'll likely enjoy it. If you enjoy thrillers, you'll likely be underwhelmed. It was an interesting read, but it doesn't stand up to her three novels. Read those first.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

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