Posted by: Ele Quigan | November 30, 2010

‘Sister’ by Rosamund Lupton

Reading a debut novel is always a bit of a stab in the dark. You’re never quite sure if they are going to be any good, but occasionally you’ll give them a go. Sometimes they ramble, sometimes their plots just aren’t that well defined, sometimes they have slightly strange conclusions, leaving you wonder if it really was a waste of time… ‘Sister’ is the debut novel of Rosamund Lupton, and probably the best debut novel I have read in the last decade.

Challenging, surprising, sometimes frustrating all at once, with an open ending leaving you wondering what was this novel you just spent until 2am reading (yes, I couldn’t put it down once I started it) but incredibly good, this novel completely took me by surprise.

It’s more than just a crime novel, it’s more literature than cheesy quick read crime stuff, and obviously with a twist (don’t they all have a twist…) that come completely out of left-field. I found myself racing along with the pace of the novel feeling all at the same time that I wanted to get to the end but also never finishing it as well – incredible. The first novel to cause me to feel like that in a long time.

I guess it helped that it was based in London, suddenly places that wouldn’t have made sense years ago I now now, and often I’ve seen or been to the places mentioned and discussed, which gives me that nice warm feeling of reading something about home (even though the subject matter of this was somewhat bleak).

The sister/sibling side to it was interesting. Coming from a not so close family – closeness, particularly in siblings is something I’ve always found quite interesting. The idea that you can be so close, yet so different in personalities has always astounded me, and I guess the thought that family is there for life (you can’t really yell at your friends as much as family and have them still love you can you) is pretty amazing. It creates an unusual subtext to the story, I guess in a similar way to ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ that I read a few months back.

It is an excellent read, would recommend it to anyone – even those who can’t stand crime fiction – as it stands out of its own accord, head and shoulder above anything else I’ve read in a while.

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