Wednesday, March 28, 2012
THE WEIRD SISTERS by Eleanor Brown (2011) Penguin, 318 pages
Even before I began thumbing through the pages of this sparkling debut novel, I knew I would be smitten, having made the assumption that Brown would rely on the Bard's plots, characters and memorable lines since she references MACBETH'S witches in her title. And, for those of you who know me, all references to Shakespeare, whose prose rides the beat of my anxious heart, make my Litnerd heart swell. Though I do not pretend to have any prophetic powers like those weird sisters in the Scottish play, I do know what it feels like to fail, over and over again, just as our protagonists Rose, Bean and Cordy do as they navigate their way to belonging.
When your father is a professor of Shakespeare at a local college, and you and your sisters are named for female characters in birth order (Rosalind aka Rose 1st born from AS YOU LIKE IT; Bianca aka Bean 2nd born from THE TAMING OF THE SHREW; Cordelia aka Cordy 3rd born from KING LEAR), it is not terribly surprising that he tells you of your mother's cancer through a page copied from The Riverside Shakespeare: "Come, let us go; and pray to all the gods/For our beloved mother in her pains." Or that your oldest sister announces her intent to marry by quoting lines from ROMEO AND JULIET.
What matters, however, is that you all flock home. And, that your not-so-weird secrets of self-worth, theft, and pregnancy will be aired in good time.
There are worlds in Eleanor Brown's words and each of them entranced me.