From the inside flap: The Story Sisters charts the lives of three sisters-Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who can not tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his hearts desire, and a demon who will not let go.
What does a mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others? How deep can love go and how far can it take you?
At once a coming-of-age tale, a family saga, and a love story of erotic longing, The Story Sisters sifts through the miraculous and the mundane as the girls become women and their choices haunt them, change them, and finally redeem them.
I started The Story Sisters yesterday afternoon and with a few breaks for sleep, finished it this morning. I was hesitant to read this now, though I am a long-time reader of Hoffman's work, because of the recent criticism surrounding the author. I am glad I did not wait. This book grabbed me from the beginning and kept me spellbound until the end.
The main character is Elv, the oldest sister, who was abducted and molested at age 11 after saving her sister Claire from the fate meant for her. Elv tells no one, instead she creates an imaginary world, Arnelle, with her sisters, and Arnish, their own secret language. To Elv, it is a world of good and kind, unlike the real world which is haunted by demons. Eventually Elv begins to look for the darkness in her secret world and the real one, to confront her fears. She begins doing drugs, cutting herself and shutting out her sister, Meg, who is unaware of what happened to Elv. Claire is caught between the two sisters but eventually pulls away from Elv as she sinks deeper into destruction. Elv's choices then impact the girls lives throughout the novel.
Hoffman's prose is lyrical and beautiful as usual, though this novel is darker than her others. It is also heartbreaking and moving, destructive and redeeming, and will stay with you long after you finish.
My rating: 4 stars
I wouldn't recommend this as an introduction to Hoffman's works but to anyone acquainted with her style of writing.