Book Review: Sisterland


Title: Sisterland
Author: Curtis Sittenfeld
ISBN: 9781400068319
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Random House
Source: Advance copy via NetGalley
Release Date: June 25th 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5


From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar “senses”—innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people’s secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them.

Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their home town of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that a devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. More troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister, and truths about herself she’s long tried to deny.


Daisy and Violet are twins who have unusual ability which they define as “senses”. They grow up as troubled teens and are bullied at school for being different. Now in their mid thirties, Daisy is a married woman with two children. She has changed her name to Kate to put as much distance from her past self as possible. Violet has done just the opposite. She has embraced the things that make her different and is now a psychic professional, much to Kate’s embarrassment. Major turn of events take place when Vi predicts that a serious earthquake will take place in their home town of St. Louis.

This is an emotional story about the sister’s domestic life. I sometimes found the pace too slow. Daisy or Kate, is essentially a good character but is difficult to like. She is judgemental of her sister and often patronising. Vi, on the other hand is vivacious and adventurous and I liked her much better.

The book alternates between the twin’s past and the present. I couldn’t connect with the 70s and 80s references in the book and I thought the plot was slow leading up to the date of the predicted earthquake. What I liked about this book was the relationship between the twins. They argue, they fight, they make up, they are so very different from each other and still support one another.

I thought the book was a bit too long but it was an easy and compulsive read.