THE SISTER: A Novel of Emily Dickinson by Paola Kaufmann

Still today, more than 120 years after her death, Emily Dickinson is relevant, modern, controversial, and fascinating; her fan base impressive in numbers and in breadth, and her influence on writers and poets evergreen, even inspiring our top video game designers to build a prototype game around her called “Muse.” As a woman, she is largely thought of as a recluse and spinster who lived her entire life in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the home of her birth; as a poet, she wrote some of the most daring and original poetry of the nineteenth century. This verse is often said to be her only contact with the outside world, but not much is understood about the inner world that gave rise to it.

The Sister (Overlook/Rookery, June 1, 2007, 272 pp, $24.95, 978-1-58567-951-5) probes this world, revealing Emily Dickinson’s tense relationship with her parents, her hidden passions and aspirations, the men in her life, and her secret views on religion and love, all seen through the eyes of her younger sister Lavinia. Drawn from authentic journals, documents, and letters from the Dickinson family, The Sister fills in a vital missing piece of the jigsaw, getting us closer to understanding the enigma that is Emily Dickinson.

“Sensitively captures the dark, secretive nature of these thorny New England characters.” —Kirkus

ON THE WRITING OF THE SISTER: “In researching this book, an earlier view of Emily Dickinson ended for me, undoing the myth of the genius madwoman dressed in white and shut away in her house. After reading numerous biographies and letters (from both sides of the family), my impression was that of a more rebellious, vital and revolutionary woman than the legend suggests. For me she was revolutionary because she always did exactly what she wanted in an age where such an attitude was not tolerated. Women either married, locked themselves in a convent, spent their lives as schoolteachers, or died in childbirth. There was no alternative. Emily Dickinson wanted to write, to read, to bake bread, to be left in peace. And this is precisely what she did. But she only managed to do this thanks to the help of her sister Lavinia, who lived an essentially parallel life, never marrying, nor having children (because, deep down, she never wanted to), and who was the lifeline to the outside world. No small feat.” --PAOLA KAUFMANN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paola Kaufmann was born in 1969 in Rio Negro, Argentina. She combined fiction-writing with a successful career as a biologist and scientific researcher. She received the Casa de las Américas Prize for The Sister, which has been published to acclaim in 8 countries. Her latest novel, The Lake, recently won the prestigious Planeta Prize for Fiction. She died of cancer in September, 2006, at the age of 37.

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