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Little Sister: A Novel (Hardcover)

Little Sister: A Novel By Barbara Gowdy Cover Image
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A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

One of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2017

"[A] supernatural domestic thriller and a crackling tour de force." —The New York Times

Thunderstorms are rolling across the summer sky. Every time one breaks, Rose Bowan loses consciousness and has vivid, realistic dreams about being in another woman's body. 

Is Rose merely dreaming? Or is she, in fact, inhabiting a stranger? Disturbed yet entranced, she sets out to discover what is happening to her, leaving the cocoon of her family’s small repertory cinema for the larger, upended world of someone wildly different from herself. Meanwhile her mother is in the early stages of dementia, and has begun to speak for the first time in decades about another haunting presence: Rose’s younger sister. 

In Little Sister, one woman fights to help someone she has never met, and to come to terms with a death for which she always felt responsible. With the elegant prose and groundbreaking imagination that have earned her international acclaim, Barbara Gowdy explores the astonishing power of empathy, the question of where we end and others begin, and the fierce bonds of motherhood and sisterhood.  

About the Author

Barbara Gowdy’s critically acclaimed six novels and widely anthologized short stories have been published in twenty-four countries and have appeared on best-seller lists throughout the world. She has been a finalist three times for the Governor General’s Award and the Roger’s Trust Fiction Prize, twice for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and has been long-listed for the Booker Prize. She is a Trillium Book Award winner, a Member of the Order of Canada, and a Guggenheim Fellow.  Ben Marcus, Harper's Magazine,  named her as one of the few “terrific” literary realists who have “pounded on the emotional possibilities of their mode, refusing to subscribe to worn-out techniques and story-telling methods.”

Praise For…

[A] supernatural domestic thriller and a crackling tour de force in which thunderstorms propel one woman’s mind into another’s body, forcing the traveler the reconsider her own stalled life and reviving long-buried memories of her sister’s death . . . Thanks to Gowdy’s electric style and vision, the result is unforgettable.

— The New York Times Book Review

Gowdy is a magical storyteller . . . Little Sister is a gem, powered by Gowdy’s incredible fabulist imagination.


Electrifying . . . Gowdy sucks readers into this suspenseful, supernatural story like a strong wind in a squall.
— Kirkus, starred review

In this inventive novel, a woman troubled by guilt is transported into the mind of another woman—during thunderstorms!—and experiences flashes of self-illumination.
— People Magazine, Best New Fiction

A thrilling, captivating exploration of guilt, the female psyche, and the  bonds of womanhood.

— Publishers Weekly

At once suspenseful and lyrical, Little Sister transports its characters (and its readers) into different bodies and different eras. Brilliantly, devastatingly, Barbara Gowdy unveils the alternate possibilities hidden within the everyday.

— Helen Phillips, author of THE BEAUTIFUL BUREAUCRAT

Little Sister is only the latest in the long line of complications I've faced when it comes to recommending my favorite Barbara Gowdy book. 'Oh, you haven't read Barbara Gowdy?' I'll say. 'You should try . . .' but then what? Which book should I name? The truth is that, in each and every one, she sees so deeply into her characters, and with such brightness, that their very cells seem to glow. Gowdy is, quite simply, a virtuoso.

— Kevin Brockmeier, author of THE ILLUMINATION

Little Sister is a profound, fascinating meditation on the superpowers deep inside the consciousness, if we can only get there.  Once you start reading this book, you'll want to live there for a long while, in its very interesting story line and its deep, unshakable belief in the thrilling capabilities of the mind.

— Rebecca Lee, author of BOBCAT AND OTHER STORIES

Little Sister is weird and wonderful. Like all of Gowdy's work, it will subtly change how you look at the everyday.

— Ayelet Waldman, author of LOVE AND TREASURE

Barbara Gowdy fills me with wonder. It is impossible to categorize her marvelous work, which is the highest compliment I can think of. Little Sister is no exception: a sui generis novel that offers all the excitements of a mystery while also exploring the strange workings of desire, empathy, identity, and memory. I won't sit through another thunderstorm without remembering this book and its generous surprises.

— Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, author of MS. HEMPEL CHRONICLES

Product Details
ISBN: 9781941040607
ISBN-10: 1941040608
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication Date: May 23rd, 2017
Pages: 300
Language: English