Praise & Reviews
“The effect of Sittenfeld’s first-person narration is like listening to a long and candid story told by a matter-of-fact but mesmerizing friend….Novelists get called master storytellers all the time, but Sittenfeld really is one, a kind of no-nonsense, BabyBjörn-wearing Scheherazade. What might be most strikingly excellent about “Sisterland” is the way Sittenfeld depicts domesticity and motherhood. This is a book that neither ignores nor fetishizes diapers and strollers.
— Maggie Shipstead, The Washington Post
“Palpably real… The author gives us an Updikean portrait of life in Kate and Jeremy’s comfortable St. Louis suburb that is every bit as well observed as the world of private school evoked in “Prep.”…. So psychologically vivid that the reader easily overlooks the slick story line…“Sisterland” is a testament to the author’s growing depth and assurance as a writer.
— Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Curtis Sittenfeld is the Ed Norton of the literary world. Popular but intellectual, accessible but mysterious and, above all — a perspective chameleon with an uncanny ability to enter the minds of callow prep school outcasts and devotedly compromising first ladies alike….[Sittenfeld’s] gifts are in full effect with this novel, and she uses them to create a genuinely engrossing sense of uncertainty and suspense. Even when she herself knows precisely what the future will bring.
—Sloane Crosley, “All Things Considered”
“Full of quiet, surprisingly relatable moments, it’s a thoughtful look at the near-supernatural closeness between sisters, even those who’d rather not know what’s going on inside each other’s heads….As she did so well in her first novel, Prep, Sittenfeld richly evokes the daily lives of young women who are trying to figure themselves out.
— Melissa Maerz, Entertainment Weekly
“Although Kate and Vi’s joint prediction sets the plot in motion, this isn’t really a novel about the woo-woo spirit world. It’s a classic family story, in a classic American setting: the weaknesses in a good marriage, the strengths of the love between two seemingly opposed sisters, the damage that childhood can inflict years later, the way motherhood can become all-engrossing. Or so I decided midway through when I found myself enjoying the book, despite its dubious-seeming premise. Sisterland not only reveals hidden depths in its characters, but it, too, holds more than a snap judgment might promise.
— Noreen Malone, The New Republic
“With Sisterland, Sittenfeld lifts the hood on a whole host of issues: parenting, race, relationships, and the panic economy that sees the media lashed into a frenzy every other week. The book isn’t really about psychic powers: It’s about anxiety, and trust, and figuring out how to handle the bad things that are coming down the road for all of us. As such, Kate’s token earthquake preparations—she stocks up on bottled water and takes the paintings off the walls of her house—stand in for the pitiful bulwarks we all sandbag into some semblance of safety and security in this world. Did I mention it’s funny? It’s also very funny.
—Alison Hallett, The Portland Mercury
“Sittenfeld [is]… at her best when depicting everyday life and, especially, the internal monologues of adolescents (fans of Prep will be in heaven) and neurotic new mothers. I don’t think I’ve read better passages on parenting small children anywhere (or, indeed, many passages at all). Sittenfeld has really nailed how to write about childcare in a way that is not sentimental or cloying or too brutal.
Although this isn’t a thriller, it is a work of psychological genius and has a wonderful twist at the end. Sittenfeld has crafted a literary page-turner masquerading as a feud between two sisters. In reality it’s about the politics of marital life and the difficulty of out-running your own childhood. It has all the best qualities of Tom Perrotta’s Little Children and all the fine, up-close detail of Ann Patchett’s work. There’s a fizzing, daring originality to Sisterland that draws you in and takes your breath away. When it comes to tearing apart contemporary American family life one microscopic fibre at a time, Sittenfeld is up there in a class of her own.”
— The Guardian
“A rich portrait of intricate relationships within and among families by one of commercial fiction’s smartest, most perceptive practitioners.”
— Kirkus (starred review)
“Delicious insights into sisterhood and motherhood are peppered throughout Sittenfeld’s novel about identical twins with ESP… [T]he twins… are rendered so vividly that readers would be able to pick them out of a crowd… A rich and intimate tale of imperfect, well-meaning, ordinary people struggling to define themselves and protect the people they love.”