Spain, by the sea, somewhere near Barcelona. This cover called me. But it was seeing the author’s name on the front that begged me to read A SISTER IN MY HOUSE.
“Maria and Emma have not seen each other since their mother’s funeral two years ago. But now, Emma has come to visit Maria at her house in Spain, an unsettling intrusion on Maria’s peaceful and solitary life. Over six days in the seaside town, the sisters cautiously recount the years of their separate adult lives. Their walks through the quiet town and evening talks on the terrace reveal almost more than Maria can deal with, until finally, the sisters confront their unspeakable family history.”
Quietly simplistic. With spare prose. And two characters who bare their souls to each other. Haunting and insightful. When Maria invites Emma to come to visit her in Spain, she immediately wants to take it back.
All of our families have stories. Often they are remembered in entirely different ways. We listen as Emma slowly opens up to Maria. And, finally, Maria begins to share her story. We don’t know what either sister has experienced. But we do know there has been undue suffering.
The little white sail boats bobbing in the cove on the diamond encrusted turquoise sea are sealed into my mind, still. The vision of Salvador Dali’s home in the hills drove me to imagine bright colorful paintings from his palette. And, oh, the soft gray-green foliage on the olive trees along the path in the hills. Brought back memories of my time visiting Barcelona years ago.
The cover of this little book drew me in. I wanted to be on that terrace in Spain by the sea. Well, Olsson writes a story so vividly that I got really close. I could smell the briny sea. Feel the change in the atmosphere. And picture the plant life. As the sisters walked by the water, strolled the streets, and enjoyed meals, I was right there with them, smack dab in the middle of this story. And as the story ended I found I missed the shared morning coffee, and the evening sips of wine overlooking the sea.
Grief is a strangle part of our lives. Grief for loss either of a loved one or a relationship. Anything of importance to one’s life. How we deal with grief is personal and often private. The quiet grief in A SISTER IN MY HOUSE speaks volumes. Both women come out the other side mostly intact. But the journey is not as lonely now that they’ve reunited.
I read A MEMORY OF LOVE by Olsson a few years ago and fell in love with not only that book but, the author’s writing style. Linda Olsson
was born in Sweden. She’s traveled extensively from Singapore to Japan. She lives in New Zealand and Sweden now.
A SISTER IN MY HOUSE is a perfect book for summer. Toss it in your bag and go. You won’t be sorry. I can picture you pulling the book out just to stare at the pristine cover and dream….
I borrowed my copy of this book from the library, but, we have trade paperback
editions for sale on my Summer Reading Table at Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda. Come on up and see us!