Sisters is the new novel from Daisy Johnson, the Booker shortlisted author of Everything Under. It is an eerily beautiful Gothic novel about family bonds, and in particular the strong sibling connection between sisters September and July. Johnson encapsulates so much in this concise novel; it is a family drama, a coming of age novel, and a steady, quiet Gothic thriller.
There is a secret running under the plot from the very beginning of the novel, when the sisters and their mother Sheela retreat from Oxford to an old, run-down family house in the countryside. We are warned that something is not quite right through references to a significant event in the recent past, and constantly further unsettled by the wild and rugged landscape: the danger and pull of the ocean and the dusty, old country house.
September and July have a strong sisterly bond, that is full of love and sustains them both. But there is something suffocating about the siblings’ bond too. Although they are close in age, there is a distinct power dynamic to their relationship, and tinges of jealousy and anger bubble under the surface. The sisters’ bond runs deep, powerfully and dangerously driving the novel forward.
There is something so unbelievably captivating about Johnson’s writing style. It is beautiful, understated and completely draws you in, but yet is discomforting and unsettling at the same time. The plot constantly threatens to over-spill in unpredictable directions, but Johnson’s careful and atmospheric prose reassures you that you are being guided through this novel in the hands of a master.
Sisters publishes on 13th August 2020, with Jonathan Cape. Many thanks to Netgalley and to the Publisher for sending me an advance eCopy in exchange for an honest review.
Sophie @Sophie_Jo_Books 📚 🐾