Writer: Daisy Johnson
Publishing House: Random House UK
Date of Publication: July 2nd 2020
Rating: 5 stars
”My sister is a black hole.
My sister is a tornado.
My sister is the end of the line my sister is the locked door
my sister is a shot in the dark.
My sister is waiting for me.
My sister is a falling tree.
My sister is a bricked-up window.
My sister is a wishbone my sister is the night train
my sister is the last packet of crisps my sister
is a long lie-in.
My sister is a forest on fire,
My sister is a sinking ship.
My sister is the last house on the street.”
Two sisters. September and July. A broken mother. A house that stands witness to an unfolding drama, a silent observer of two lives that try to find a direction, in a society that is always ready to judge and condemn.
This is the new triumph by Daisy Johnson, one of the most brilliant, most unique writers of our generation.
”This the year we are houses, lights on in every window, doors that won’t quite shut.”
”The house is going to float away and take my darling girls with it.”
September and July are two ordinary teenagers who face the same problems like any other teenager in the world. Acceptance, uncertainty, desire, coping with the despicable attitude of the ”popular” students and the absence of the father. Their mother is fighting against her own demons and the two girls are practically left to look after themselves, their only support being the bond between sisters. Daisy Johnson uses poetic language to depict the daily life and the issues that require strength and resilience. However, this novel is far from an ordinary contemporary account of a family. It is a haunting mystery of the past and the uncertain, fragile future.
”Something is screaming in the wall.”
Set in the North York moors, the house becomes a character, a significant, misty presence looming over the small family. With evident traces of depression and desperate actions of self-harm, darkness has engulfed the two girls. The house seems alive, full of sounds and shadows, full of memories and lurking threats. The rain doesn’t stop, the birds are menacing, the ants are crawling inside the walls, whispers and cracks and the fragile mind of July who struggles to understand her sister and the world around her. What has happened to this house? What has happened to this family? Johnson’s outstanding writing leaves the answers to us…
”There are so many noises she cannot sleep. In the night, mostly, thumps and thundering, the sound of many footsteps, the crash of windows opening and closing, sudden explosions which sound like shouting. Sometimes she goes rushing out, still half-asleep, but there is never anyone there.”
Following the mysterious Fen and the haunting Everything Under, Daisy Johnson gives us one more masterpiece in Sisters. An earthy, raw, brave hymn to sisterhood and family relationships, an elegy for the darkness we are called to fight against from an early age, a moving account of carrying on when all else is fading…
How fortunate and grateful we must feel for Daisy Johnson’s presence in the literary world…
”The Settle House is load-bearing. Here is what it bears: Mum’s endless sadness, September’s frightful wrath, my quiet failures to ever do quite what anyone needs me to do, the seasons, the death of small animals in the scrublands around it, every word that we say in love or anger to one another.”
Many thanks to Random House UK and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.