The Weird Sisters

The Weird Sisters

3.5 509
by Eleanor Brown
     
 

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A major new talent tackles the complicated terrain of sisters, the power of books, and the places we decide to call home.

There is no problem that a library card can't solve.

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his

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Overview

  • Watch a video
A major new talent tackles the complicated terrain of sisters, the power of books, and the places we decide to call home.

There is no problem that a library card can't solve.

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much. But the sisters soon discover that everything they've been running from-one another, their small hometown, and themselves-might offer more than they ever expected.

Editorial Reviews

Ron Charles
A family drama, gracefully costumed in academic garb and lit with warm comedy, 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished…if you know a Stratfordian who's always quoting the Bard, get thee to a bookstore…Brown is such a clever writer, and she's written such an endearing story about sisterly affection and the possibilities of redemption, that it's easy to recommend The Weird Sisters.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
You don't have to have a sister or be a fan of the Bard to love Brown's bright, literate debut, but it wouldn't hurt. Sisters Rose (Rosalind; As You Like It), Bean (Bianca; The Taming of the Shrew), and Cordy (Cordelia; King Lear)--the book-loving, Shakespeare-quoting, and wonderfully screwed-up spawn of Bard scholar Dr. James Andreas--end up under one roof again in Barnwell, Ohio, the college town where they were raised, to help their breast cancer–stricken mom. The real reasons they've trudged home, however, are far less straightforward: vagabond and youngest sib Cordy is pregnant with nowhere to go; man-eater Bean ran into big trouble in New York for embezzlement, and eldest sister Rose can't venture beyond the "mental circle with Barnwell at the center of it." For these pains-in-the-soul, the sisters have to learn to trust love--of themselves, of each other--to find their way home again. The supporting cast--removed, erudite dad; ailing mom; a crew of locals; Rose's long-suffering fiancé--is a punchy delight, but the stage clearly belongs to the sisters; Macbeth's witches would be proud of the toil and trouble they stir up. (Jan.)
The Boston Globe
Irresistible.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Brown writes sweetly of the transition so many adults struggle to make before their parents' eyes, from children to caretakers themselves.
-The Boston Globe
"Irresistible."
-Library Journal
"Lovely...This novel should appeal to Shakespeare lovers, bibliophiles, fans of novels in academic settings, and stories of sisterhood. The narration is a creative and original blending of the three 'Weird Sisters' as one."
-The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Brown writes sweetly of the transition so many adults struggle to make before their parents' eyes, from children to caretakers themselves."
From the Publisher
"Even if you don't have a sister, you may feel like you have one after reading this hilarious and utterly winsome novel. Eleanor Brown skillfully ties and then unties the Gordian knot of sisterhood, writing with such knowingness that when the ending came, and the three Andreas sisters-who had slunk home for a rest from themselves only to find to their horror their other two sisters there as wel-emerge, I sighed the guilty sigh of pleasure and yes, of recognition."
Sarah Blake, best-selling author of The Postmistress

"At once hilarious, thought-provoking and poignant, this sparkling and devourable debut explores the roles that we play with our siblings, whether we want to or not. The Weird Sisters is a tale of the complex family ties that threaten to pull us apart, but sometimes draw us together instead."
J. Courtney Sullivan, best-selling author of Commencement

"The Weird Sisters is a chronicle of real women, because it tells the truths of sisters. Eleanor Brown has written a compelling novel about love, despair and birth order-the themes the Bard himself had claimed and burnished."
Min Jin Lee, author of Free Food for Millionaires

"Brown's knockout debut about the ties that bind us, the stories we tell ourselves, and the thorny tangle of sisterhood was so richly intelligent, heartbreakingly moving and gorgeously inventive, that I was rereading pages just to see how she did her alchemy. Brilliant, beautiful, and unlike anything I've ever read before."
Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You and Girls in Trouble

Library Journal
Sibling love and sibling rivalry are the keys to Brown's (www.eleanor-brown.com) debut novel, which revolves around three sisters each named after a Shakespearean character—Rose (Rosalind), Bean (Bianca), and Cordy (Cordelia)—who simultaneously return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother. While there is some predictability, the characters are complex enough to give the novel depth. Brown employs multiple narrative methods to tell each woman's story, sliding in and out of the third and first person with admirable skill. Actress/narrator Kirsten Potter controls these shifts well and brings the town and people of Barnwell to life. An entertaining book recommended for all fiction lovers. [The Amy Einhorn: Penguin hc was recommended for "Shakespeare lovers, bibliophiles, fans of novels in academic settings, and stories of sisterhood," LJ 10/1/10.—Ed.]—Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo
Kirkus Reviews

In a debut about growing up, secrets and failures are predictably resolved when a family crisis reunites three bright but unhappy siblings.

As the daughters of a Shakespeare scholar, the Andreas girls are no strangers to the Bard. Oldest Rosalind (known as Rose) is named after the heroine of As You Like It, Bianca (Bean) has the name of the tamed shrew's sister and daddy's girl Cordelia (Cordy) bears the name of King Lear's devoted youngest. Their "weird"ness refers to Macbeth, although the three are far from witch-like, just averagely bookish women grappling with their unusual upbringing and some dubious adult choices. Drawn home to Barnwell, Ohio, because of their mother's breast cancer, the sisters reassemble uneasily in their parents' house—footloose Cordy, now pregnant; self-hating, morally dubious Bean, sacked after embezzling from her New York employers; and overly dutiful Rose. Quirky and perky, Brown's narrative uses light comedy to balance the serious life issues. The family's habit of quoting Shakespeare at every turn is less amusing, and there's also the curious plural narrative voice—"our sister," "our parents,"—seemingly the collective point of view of all three daughters. The story itself is a lengthy account of the women facing their demons, assisted by saintly parents, friends and neighbors who offer jobs, reassurance and romance. All's well that ends well.

Readable, upmarket, non-mold-breaking escapism.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781445857657
Publisher:
Audiogo Limited
Publication date:
04/28/2012

What People are saying about this

Nancy Pearl
"Here's what I adored about this book: the first person plural narrative voice (I can still hear it in my head), its realistic take on the pleasures and pangs of sisterly relationships, and a cast of complex, three dimensional characters who love reading but find that real life sometimes doesn't fit neatly - or can't be solved - within the pages of a novel.” --(Nancy Pearl, author of BOOK LUST and BOOK LUST TO GO)
From the Publisher
"Even if you don't have a sister, you may feel like you have one after reading this hilarious and utterly winsome novel. Eleanor Brown skillfully ties and then unties the Gordian knot of sisterhood, writing with such knowingness that when the ending came, and the three Andreas sisters—who had slunk home for a rest from themselves only to find to their horror their other two sisters there as wel—emerge, I sighed the guilty sigh of pleasure and yes, of recognition."
– Sarah Blake, best-selling author of The Postmistress

"At once hilarious, thought-provoking and poignant, this sparkling and devourable debut explores the roles that we play with our siblings, whether we want to or not. The Weird Sisters is a tale of the complex family ties that threaten to pull us apart, but sometimes draw us together instead."
– J. Courtney Sullivan, best-selling author of Commencement

"The Weird Sisters is a chronicle of real women, because it tells the truths of sisters. Eleanor Brown has written a compelling novel about love, despair and birth order—the themes the Bard himself had claimed and burnished."
– Min Jin Lee, author of Free Food for Millionaires

"Brown's knockout debut about the ties that bind us, the stories we tell ourselves, and the thorny tangle of sisterhood was so richly intelligent, heartbreakingly moving and gorgeously inventive, that I was rereading pages just to see how she did her alchemy. Brilliant, beautiful, and unlike anything I've ever read before."
– Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You and Girls in Trouble

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