Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass
3.5 stars for this moving novel about the connection between sisters..., November 18, 2009
This is a convoluted but well-written novel about the nature of a relationship between sisters and the capriciousness of life.
Two sisters -- as dissimilar as "chocolate and seaweed" -- grow up and go their separate ways into adulthood. One sister works in the promotion and critique of art and the other is a free-spirited biologist who roves the world to work protecting animals. The story spans the 25-year history of their lives both when together and when apart. We have a glimpse of how the sisters relate in person and how they communicate when the other is away and busy with her own life. Louisa and Clem try to stay connected without necessarily being close, honest without being brutal, involved without being present. But each woman is always evaluating and judging herself compared to her sister. Each has expectations of what the other should or should not be doing or how she should "be" and there are many disappointments.
Each chapter is told from the point of view of a sister and the book jumps around in time from chapter to chapter. I often had to read several paragraphs before I was sure which sister was speaking -- honestly, I find that annoying. I like my novels to proceed in an orderly fashion with a single narrator.
I did enjoy this somewhat depressing novel, and without giving any spoilers, it was an in-depth exploration of how life can catch a person by surprise. There are no guarantees or insurance against the fickleness of fate. The ups and downs in the lives of Louisa and Clem are rich with poignancy and the thread of connectedness that keeps the sisters bound. Recommended.