Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR) on April 1, 1993
Genres: Classics, Contemporary
This beautiful and sad first novel, recently adapted for a major motion picture, tells of a band of teenage sleuths who piece together the story of a twenty-year old family tragedy begun by the youngest daughter’s spectacular demise by self-defenestration, which inaugurates “the year of the suicides.”
“With most people,” he said, “suicide is like Russian roulette. Only one chamber has a bullet. With the Lisbon girls, the gun was loaded. A bullet for family abuse. A bullet for genetic predisposition. A bullet for historical malaise. A bullet for inevitable momentum. The other two bullets are impossible to name, but that doesn’t mean the chambers were empty.”
This was a strange read for me, yet still managed to be… I wouldn’t say enjoyable. Maybe intriguing is more like it. This book filled me with major confusion as I had constant questions arise since you don’t get the full picture as this story is told from a third-party, an outside party, rather than being told from the POV of one of the sisters. On top of that, it’s actually told as almost a recollection of people who were affected by these girls and their actions.
I had of course heard of this story over the years but had never managed to pick it up. Never actually watched the film either so I wasn’t completely aware of what to expect. Even know, writing this review several weeks after finishing the book, I’m not sure how to describe how I felt about it. What I remember most is the author’s vivid writing; I will definitely be interested in reading more from him. This was an interesting and thought provoking book but at the same time is a horrible and shocking book that I’m not sure whether or not to recommend. Very sad, very heartbreaking, and one that I certainly won’t be forgetting.