The Sisters Antipodes by Jane Alison

The Sisters Antipodes by Jane Alison

Alison, Jane. The Sisters Antipodes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. ISBN 978-0151012800 272 pp. $23


This biographical account of the author’s family, torn apart by infidelity, focuses on the history of two Australian couples, and the effect of divorce and remarriage on the children and parents. Part tribute to the stepsister with whom she competes for their fathers’ love and attention, Jane confides and speculates about the skeletons in her family’s closet in intimate fashion.

The writing is lovely, highly literary and reflective in tone, and the pace, leisurely. The themes of identity and self-worth and sexuality and sibling rivalry resurface over & over, but the narrative wanders so much back and forth through time so much it’s a huge turn off. I kept thinking, ‘stop hinting about WHAT you’re going to reveal, later, just spit it out!’ The slow pace and denseness may be deterrents for some readers; others will love the prose and plod on through.

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