Little sister / Barbara Gowdy.

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    • Edition:
      First U.S. edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: Thunderstorms are rolling across the summer sky. Every time one breaks, Rose Bowan loses consciousness and has vivid, realistic dreams about being in another woman's body. Is Rose merely dreaming? Or is she, in fact, inhabiting a stranger? Disturbed yet entranced, she sets out to discover what is happening to her, leaving the cocoon of her family's small repertory cinema for the larger, upended world of someone wildly different from herself. Meanwhile her mother is in the early stages of dementia, and has begun to speak for the first time in decades about another haunting presence: Rose's younger sister. In Little Sister, one woman fights to help someone she has never met, and to come to terms with a death for which she always felt responsible. With the elegant prose and groundbreaking imagination that have earned her international acclaim, Barbara Gowdy explores the astonishing power of empathy, the question of where we end and others begin, and the fierce bonds of motherhood and sisterhood.
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Booklist Reviews 2017 March #2

Rose Bowan leads a small life running her family's theater, caring for the mother that she is heartbreakingly losing to dementia and dating a man she doesn't love. Then the episodes begin. Triggered by thunderstorms, Rose begins entering the body of Harriet Smith, an editor who appears to work in the same city. Each episode gives Rose a no-holds-barred glimpse into some of the most poignant moments of Smith's life, starting with her affair with a married man and the resulting pregnancy. Harriet reminds Rose of her sister, Ava, who died in childhood, and Rose finds herself taking an intense interest in her. Determined to see if Harriet exists outside the episodes, Rose begins a quest to help Harriet, while inadvertently redefining herself. Gowdy (The Romantic, 2003) presents a promising premise and knows her way around dialogue and characters. However, the plot leaves something to be desired, with odd little twists and an ending that gives the impression of a missing final chapter. Overall, an intriguing concept but one that doesn't play out quite right. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2017 April #2

In her eighth novel (after Helpless), Canadian novelist Gowdy explores the experience of being in someone else's body. Each time a thunderstorm occurs, Rose temporarily loses consciousness and then awakens to discover she is living another woman's life. Though at first startling, these encounters liberate Rose from her own existence—managing the family's repertory cinema, caring for an elderly mother with dementia, and plodding through a lackluster relationship. It also provides an escape from a past haunted by her younger sister's death. She increasingly anticipates the episodes that involve the young woman Harriet. Like Gowdy's other novels and stories, this work depicts an unusual scenario; her critically acclaimed White Bone was told from the perspectives of African elephants. Her tender, and occasionally funny, portrayal of Rose explores the boundaries of the human soul and those responsibilities that weigh upon us as much if not more than it explores the boundaries of the human mind. VERDICT The intrigue about Harriet's own identity will capture readers' attention, but looking forward to her future identities, once the thunderstorms abate, will sustain it. Recommended.—Faye Chadwell, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2017 March #2

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. (May)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.