Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where you can share the first paragraph, or a few, of a book you are reading or thinking about reading soon.
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Today I am spotlighting Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar “senses”—innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people’s secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them.
Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their hometown of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that another, more devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. Equally troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister and to face truths about herself she’s long tried to deny.
Funny, haunting, and thought-provoking, Sisterland is a beautifully written novel of the obligation we have toward others, and the responsibility we take for ourselves. With her deep empathy, keen wisdom, and unerring talent for finding the extraordinary moments in our everyday lives, Curtis Sittenfeld is one of the most exceptional voices in literary fiction today.
New Madrid, Louisiana Territory
The first earthquake wasn’t the strongest –– that would come later, in February 1812 –– but it must have been the most astonishing. It occurred shortly after two in the morning, and I imagine it awakening the people of New Madrid: the farmers and fur traders, the French Creoles and Indians and American pioneers. More men the women lived in the river town, and few families; the population was probably less than a thousand. The people were lying in their beds on this cold and ordinary night when without warning a tremendous cracking sound interrupted the quiet, a growing thunder, followed by the impossible fact of the quake itself: the rocking not just of their beds or floors or houses but of the land beneath them. Whether they stayed inside or hurried out, they’d have heard their animals crying, heard trees snapping, the Mississippi roaring up; so much fog and smoke filled the darkness that they would have felt the roll of the earth before they realized they could see it, to undulating like the ocean. In some places, the ground split apart and flung up water, sand, and rocks, entire trees it had swallowed shortly before, and in turn it devoured horses and cows. Rising out of the cracks and holes was the smell of sulfur, like the wicked breath of the devil emanating from deep underground.
“I thought they’d blow me off, but I was put right through to a producer. I probably should have brushed my hair this morning, huh?” Vi laughed.
So...what do you think? Is this one you would pick up? Leave a comment below!