Occasionally you encounter a novel, where the plot, characters and writing style, create a sum far exceeding its parts. Sister: A Novel by Rosamund Lupton falls into that class. The plot is simple, Tess is dead, and her sister, Beatrice, is determined to find out why. The primary characters are well-drawn with Tess being a dreamer and an artist, and Beatrice the practical, uptight sister. The secondary characters are ethereal, flitting in and out of scenes. Even Mr. Wright, who is in many significant scenes, is only bookends to Beatrice’s narratives.
It is when you find that Beatrice’s health is declining that you start to understand how important it is for her story to be told quickly: “The truth is that Mr. Wright has discovered that I am more unwell than he originally thought. And he’s astute enough to worry that if I am physically declining, then my mind, particularly my memory, might deteriorate too” (position 50%, Kindle). Beatrice keeps her physical and mental health in check through her single-minded sharing what she learned with Mr. Wright and by divulging her more personal journey with Tess.
At first, I found the almost dreamlike narrative and Beatrice’s shallow interpersonal relationships with secondary characters to be annoying. In retrospect, it is exactly this narrative style that makes the novel so intriguing. I should read Sister again, not so much for the plot, but because of the pure genius of the writing. Sister makes my Honorable Mention list.