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Little Sister

Cover of Little Sister

Little Sister

A Novel

The farthest place you can go is closer than you can imagine.

Rose is a sensible woman, thirty-four years old. Together with her widowed mother, Fiona, she runs a small repertory cinema in a big city. Fiona is in the early stages of dementia and is beginning to make painful references to Rose's sister, Ava, who died young in an accident.

It is high summer, and a band of storms, unusual for their frequency and heavy downpour, is rolling across the city. Something unusual is also happening to Rose. As the storms break overhead, she loses consciousness and has vivid, realistic dreams—not only about being someplace else, but also of living someone else's life.

Is Rose merely dreaming? Or is she, in fact, inside the body of another woman? Disturbed and entranced, she tries to find out what is happening to her.

Like The White Bone, Gowdy's international bestseller, Little Sister is a fictional tour de force. As the author explores the limits of the human mind, the result is an impassioned tale of one woman's determination to help a woman she has never met, and to come to terms with a death for which she has always felt responsible.

The farthest place you can go is closer than you can imagine.

Rose is a sensible woman, thirty-four years old. Together with her widowed mother, Fiona, she runs a small repertory cinema in a big city. Fiona is in the early stages of dementia and is beginning to make painful references to Rose's sister, Ava, who died young in an accident.

It is high summer, and a band of storms, unusual for their frequency and heavy downpour, is rolling across the city. Something unusual is also happening to Rose. As the storms break overhead, she loses consciousness and has vivid, realistic dreams—not only about being someplace else, but also of living someone else's life.

Is Rose merely dreaming? Or is she, in fact, inside the body of another woman? Disturbed and entranced, she tries to find out what is happening to her.

Like The White Bone, Gowdy's international bestseller, Little Sister is a fictional tour de force. As the author explores the limits of the human mind, the result is an impassioned tale of one woman's determination to help a woman she has never met, and to come to terms with a death for which she has always felt responsible.

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About the Author-
  • Barbara Gowdy is the author of seven books, including Helpless, The Romantic, The White Bone, Mister Sandman, We So Seldom Look on Love and Falling Angels, all of which have been met with widespread international acclaim and critical praise. She has been a finalist three times for the Governor General's Award and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, twice for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and has been long-listed for the Booker Prize. In 1996 she received the Marian Engel Award, and in 2008 the Trillium Book Award. Barbara Gowdy is a Member of the Order of Canada and a Guggenheim Fellow. She lives in Toronto.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 13, 2017
    Gowdy’s (The White Bone) new novel weaves an inventive, spellbinding tale of loss, regret, and redemption that takes a heartfelt look at what it means to be a mother, daughter, and sister. Lately, whenever it rains in Toronto, Rose Bowan leaves her own body and enters the body of another woman. She can hear, see, smell, and touch what Harriet Smith senses, and quickly becomes wrapped up in her life problems. Harriet reminds Rose of her dead sister, Ava; Rose sets out to save Harriet’s troubled life to make up for not being able to save Ava’s. Meanwhile, Rose’s mother is in the early stages of dementia, talking about seeing Ava again, and Rose must nurse her mother through these end times while trying to uncover the reasons why she’s in another woman’s body every time it rains and why she, too, sees Ava in Harriet. A thrilling, captivating exploration of guilt, the female psyche, and the bonds of womanhood.

  • Alice Munro Praise for The White Bone"Inspired . . . A marvel of a book . . . The language, social structure, intellectual and spiritual world of elephants are as real as the fabric of human life. Absolutely compelling."
  • The Globe and Mail "Comic, apocalyptic, faintly hopeful, The White Bone succeeds as a brave and captivating act of imagination."
  • Chicago Tribune "The White Bone is a spectacular achievement."
  • Times Literary Supplement "This novel is a tour de force."
  • The New York Review of Books "Gowdy [has a] great gift for sensual description...The novel is plenty funny and plenty odd." -Sarah Boxer,
  • O, The Oprah Magazine "Rich in characters . . . Terror and empathy move in lockstep through the final pages of this deeply perceptive novel." -
  • San Francisco Chronicle "The reader is gripped by the characters and Gowdy's technical sophistication."
  • Los Angeles Times "Although she maintains a palpable level of tension . . . [Gowdy] offers a more nuanced psychological focus on a quartet whose relations to one another are both oddly distant and profoundly intimate."
  • Lydia Millet, The Globe and Mail "Deftly and with the illusion of innocence, [Gowdy] renders the alien native. Hers is a peacemaking genius, unique in its talent for the transition of strangeness to second nature, repulsiveness to sorrow, and insane to ordinary."
  • Lionel Shriver, Daily Telegraph "A nail-biting story told with wonderful quirkiness."
  • Chicago Tribune "Harrowing and compelling."
  • New York Times "A page-turner that finds tension not in the obvious question (Will Rachel be rescued?), but in more personal ones."
  • Chicago Tribune Praise for The Romantic "[A] heartbreaking and compassionate novel...Gowdy is a miraculous writer. The pages of The Romantic brim over with so much real life they practically breathe."
  • The Boston Globe "Few writers are able to meld the serious and the comic to such poignant effect...a brilliant evocation."
  • Los Angeles Times "[A] masterful narration that moves seamlessly back and forth in time...clear-eyed."
  • The new York Times Book Review "I had to admire Gowdy's elegant structure.... Louise's descriptions of her feelings for Abel are carefully constructed and, at times, flat-out beautiful.... [Gowdy] has found a perfect vehicle for her peculiar talents."
  • Linda Spalding, Governor-General's-Award winning author of The Purchase. "Gowdy's characters are unforgettable, her dialogue dead-on funny and smart. Her children are perfectly drawn, and, oh, the grown-ups! They are brilliantly irreverent, full of wit and wisdom, creating a story so strange, so moving, that you will tuck it into your heart and keep it there."
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    HarperCollins Canada
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Little Sister
Little Sister
A Novel
Barbara Gowdy
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