Published on Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - 9:38am
At 4 years old, Kate Shramm -- the narrator of Curtis Sittenfeld's 2013 novel, Sisterland -- experiences what she and her parents think is a vivid nightmare of a house engulfed in flames. The next night, a house in the Shramms' neighborhood burns to the ground. At dinner soon after, Kate's twin sister Violet mentions that a geographically distant relative is falling down in pain, and that relative soon suffers a fatal heart attack. Both twins have what their father calls "the senses."
Alike in their abilities, Kate and Violet grow up to be different in almost all other ways -- including their approaches to those abilities. While Violet works professionally as a psychic, Kate rejects her powers so completely that she lessens them, and she keeps her past experiences with them a secret from all but her husband.
Both women's lives begin to shift, though, the morning after a 4.9 earthquake strikes Kate and Violet's home of St. Louis, when Violet appears on television, warning, "Another earthquake is coming soon. A powerful, powerful earthquake." Concerned about the content of Violet's prediction, Kate also grows unsettled by the way that Violet's appearance brings up a part of herself that she has chosen to reject, and she fears the unbalancing of the routine, suburban life she enjoys.
Join the Georgetown Book Club as we discuss Sisterland on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Copies are currently available at the Georgetown Neighborhood Library, and everyone is welcome!
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the library at 202-727-0232.