Three Incestuous Sisters: An Illustrated Novel

Overview

The Three Incestuous Sisters is an evocative, illustrated book by the best-selling author of The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger. Reminiscent of the gothic style of Edward Gorey, Niffenegger's visually stunning narrative affirms her genius as a storyteller. These rich pages present the tale of three very different sisters: one who is beautiful, one who is smart, and one who is talented. A melodrama of sibling rivalry unfurls as one sister is driven mad with jealousy due to the passionate love affair of ...
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Overview

The Three Incestuous Sisters is an evocative, illustrated book by the best-selling author of The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger. Reminiscent of the gothic style of Edward Gorey, Niffenegger's visually stunning narrative affirms her genius as a storyteller. These rich pages present the tale of three very different sisters: one who is beautiful, one who is smart, and one who is talented. A melodrama of sibling rivalry unfurls as one sister is driven mad with jealousy due to the passionate love affair of another. Escalating to a dizzying climax, the romance of the two lovers ends in sabotage, shame, and despair. Haunting illustrations and lyrical prose depict a timeless tale of love, revenge, and ultimately, transcendence.

The Three Incestuous Sisters is a unique and lavish tour de force, which showcases Audrey Niffenegger's incredible talent as an artist and a writer.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Niffenegger, author of the two-plus-million-copy bestseller The Time Traveler's Wife, showcases her artistic talent in an oversized "novel in pictures" she calls "the book of my heart, a fourteen-year labor of love." It's the strange and haunting story of three sisters who "lived together in a lonely house by the sea, near the lighthouse, miles away from the city." Blonde Bettine is the youngest and prettiest, redhead Clothilde is "the most talented" and blue-haired Ophile, the eldest, is considered the smartest. When lightning kills the lighthouse keeper, his son, Paris, arrives to take his place; Paris and Bettine quickly fall in love and conceive a child. Jealous Ophile misbehaves badly; psychic Clothilde communes with the unborn baby, whom she names the Saint; and Bettine and Paris run away to the city, where tragedy strikes. Niffenegger's spare, full-page, sepia-toned aquatints ("an idiosyncratic, antique" medium) are evocative and Gorey-esque; they tell the story more than the minimalist prose does. And Niffenegger's afterword is illuminating, both about the process of making aquatints and about her productive methods of procrastination: The Time Traveler's Wife, she reveals, "started its life as the project I played with when I should have been finishing Sisters." (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810959279
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Edition description: Illustrate
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,042,710
  • Product dimensions: 9.62 (w) x 12.75 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Audrey Niffenegger
Audrey Niffenegger
An instructor at Columbia College’s Center for Book and Paper Arts in Chicago, Audrey Niffenegger teaches her students how to print type on letterpresses and craft limited-edition books by hand. In addition to her bestselling debut novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, she is the author of two illustrated novels, The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress .

Biography

In her book Three Incestuous Sisters, Audrey Niffenegger tells the tale of a trio of sisters, each with her own special trait. There is blond Bettine, the beautiful one, blue-haired Ophile, the smart one, and then there's Clothilde. While hardly unintelligent and certainly not unattractive, it is still probably no coincidence that Niffenegger decided to cast her fellow redhead Clothilde as the talented one considering that she is so abundant in talent. A gifted illustrator and writer, Niffenegger is parlaying her quirky imagination into one of the most interesting bodies of work in contemporary literature.

Niffenegger's love of writing developed when she was a young girl, quietly spending her time writing and illustrating books as a hobby. Her wonderfully eccentric imaginativeness was in play from her earliest writing efforts. "My ‘first' novel was an epic about an imaginary road trip [sic] I went on with The Beatles," she explains on her website, "handwritten in turquoise marker, seventy pages long, which I wrote and illustrated when I was eleven."

Niffenegger's mini-magical mystery tour may have been her "first novel," but the first one to which the rest of the world would be privy came many years later. She had already established herself as a prominent artist whose work had been shown in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Library of Congress, and the Houghton Library at Harvard University when The Time Traveler's Wife was published in 2003. "I wanted to write about a perfect marriage that is tested by something outside the control of the couple," Niffenegger told bookbrowse.com. "The title came to me out of the blue, and from the title sprang the characters, and from the characters came the story."

The Time Traveler's Wife, a sci-fi romance about the mercurial time traveler Henry and Clare, the wife who patiently awaits his return to the present, became a sensation upon its publication. This thoroughly original love story captured mass praise from USA Today, The Washington Post, People Magazine, and The Denver Post, not to mention celebrity couple Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, who promptly purchased the rights to the book and are currently developing it into a motion picture.

Now that she had established herself as a talent to watch, Niffenegger finally had the opportunity to produce a book she would describe as "a fourteen-year labor of love." Three Incestuous Sisters: An Illustrated Novel, is a gorgeous, modern-gothic storybook about the love and rivalry shared between three women. With its minimal text, Niffenegger's chiefly uses her eerie illustrations to convey the sisters' story. Booklist summed up Three Incestuous Sisters quite succinctly by stating that "Niffenegger's grim yet erotic tale and stunningly moody gothic prints possess the sly subversion of Edward Gorey, the emotional valence of Edvard Munch, and her very own brilliant use of iconographic pattern, surprising perspective, and tensile line in the service of a delectable, otherworldly sensibility."

Now, Niffenegger is turning her attentions back to straight prose as she works on a new novel. "It's called Her Fearful Symmetry," she revealed in an online chat with the Hennepin County Library. "It's set in London's Highgate Cemetery, and features as many of the cliches of 19th century fiction as I can summon." Amazingly, with such a wide variety of styles in her still budding body of work -- from science fiction to fairy tale to her impending period piece -- Audrey Niffenegger's books still share a strong sense of unity, a distinctly peculiar and particular vision. "The thing that unites all my work is narrative," she said on her website. "I'm interested in telling stories, and I'm interested in creating a world that's recognizable to us as ours, but is filled with strangeness and slight changes in the rules of the universe."

Good To Know

In our interview, Niffenegger shared some fun facts about herself:

"My current job is teaching graduate students how to write, print type on letterpresses, and create limited-edition books by hand. I work for Columbia College's Center for Book and Paper Arts in Chicago. I helped to found the Center, and it is the center of my universe nine months of the year. The other three months I try to ignore the phone, and I do my own work."

"I make art. Readers can see some of it at Printworks Gallery in Chicago. They have a web site: printworkschicago.com."

"Almost all of the places mentioned in my book are real places that you can visit. The Newberry Library is open to people who have research projects that fit the collections of the Newberry. Vintage Vinyl is a real record store in Evanston. The Aragon Ballroom, South Haven, Michigan, Bookman's Alley, The Berghoff -- I heartily recommend them all."

"I collect taxidermy, skeletons, books (of course), comics (mostly Raw and post-Raw independent stuff, no superheroes). I only collect small taxidermy, no bison heads, my place isn't that big. I don't own a TV. I spend a lot of time hanging out with my boyfriend, Christopher Schneberger, and attending Avocet concerts (Avocet is the band Chris plays drums with). We travel a lot; my new book is set in London, so there's lots of research to do. I garden, in a rather haphazard way. I also enjoy finding, buying, and wearing vintage clothes. All in all, it's a pleasant life."

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    1. Hometown:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 13, 1963
    2. Place of Birth:
      South Haven, Michigan
    1. Education:
      B.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1985; M.F.A., Northwestern University, 1991

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2006

    Not worth buying

    I bought this book based only one the fact that I loved the Time Traveler's Wife. When this book arrived I knew it was a mistake. It takes about 5 minutes to read and a second to realize it is going back to the store. That is what i get for buying it online without seeing it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2005

    Very Dark ....WONDERFUL!

    I haven't yet bought the book but managed to read it. I thought it was the most fascinating and conceivably imaginative thing I've seen in years. The art was simplistic yet had its own unique essence to it. So much that it drives you into these characters and their location. I loved this book from beginning to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2005

    BREATHTAKING

    I bought this book because I had read Audrey Niffenegger's novel The Time Traveler's Wife, which is now my favorite book in the world. This new book is strange and wonderful, like nothing I've ever seen. The author is also such an amazing artist (she did the pictures herself), and the story is like a fairy tale for grownups. I suppose if you aren't open to new ideas and have no imagination, you might not like this title, but I highly, highly recommend it. It is on my coffee table as I write this!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2005

    Vastly Disappointing!

    I'd been waiting for this book for months, only to be very disappointed when it was finally available. The book was poorly written with a scattered and weak story line. The pictures could hardly keep this story afloat despite the desperate wish of the author. From her first novel 'Time Traveller's Wife' to this is an exaggerated, and unfortunate degradation. I do not recommend this book to anyone.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2011

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