My Sis­ter Life: A Novel

F.D. Reeve
  • Review
By – July 9, 2012

Inspired by Pasternak’s famous poem, My Sis­ter Life, F.D. Reeve’s sec­ond nov­el, explores the com­plex rela­tion­ship between two sis­ters, Chris­tine and Jan, who were orphaned at birth and sep­a­rat­ed. The nov­el begins with Chris­tine, a schol­ar­ly woman who has a sen­su­al curios­i­ty about the world. She lives in Paris with her hus­band Mark, a suc­cess­ful ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist, and their young son Nicholas. Jan, a recov­er­ing sub­stance abuser, lives in Lon­don with her musi­cian hus­band, Tom. Each sis­ter seems to have embraced the polar oppo­site of the other’s life, with Chris­tine and her tastes in fine wine, men and music, and Jan liv­ing at the low­er edges of soci­ety, at times bare­ly able to get by. The nov­el is set in Paris, Lon­don, Wash­ing­ton, New York and the Caribbean, as it fol­lows each sis­ter on her own unique jour­ney through the world, often pierced by love affair, tragedy and dra­ma, until one day, they find them­selves step­ping into one another’s shoes. 

While the nov­el pos­sess­es a dra­mat­ic flair and a large, col­or­ful cast of char­ac­ters, it is often con­fus­ing as it jumps back and forth from char­ac­ter to char­ac­ter and sis­ter to sis­ter. Nev­er­the­less, the char­ac­ters speak with intel­li­gence and wit as we trav­el around the world fol­low­ing their lives.

Bar­bara S. Cohen is a tri­al attor­ney in Los Ange­les who spe­cial­izes in child abuse cas­es. She is a mem­ber of NAMI and a sup­port­er of NARSAD, and is an advo­cate for those who suf­fer from men­tal illness.

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