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Maria_H
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The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

[ Edited ]

Poppy Adams and The Sister

Author Photo: Poppy AdamsA spellbinding debut novel by Poppy Adams, The Sister reunites Ginny and Vivien, two sisters brought together -- after a decades-long estrangement -- for a long, tension-filled weekend. Those hours, and what they reveal, weave the sisters into a fraught cocoon from which they may never emerge.

About Poppy Adams: Poppy Adams is a television documentary filmmaker who has made films for the BBC and the Discovery Channel. She lives with her family in London.

An excerpt from The Sister

Chapter 1: Lookout

It's ten to two in the afternoon and I've been waiting for my little sister, Vivi, since one-thirty. She's finally coming home, at sixty-seven years old, after an absence of nearly fifty years.

I'm standing at a first-floor window, an arched stone one like you'd find in a church, my face close up to the diamond-shaped leaded panes, keeping lookout. For a moment I focus on the glass and catch the faint, honest reflection of my eye staring back at me, a lock of gray straggly hair in its way. I don't often look at my reflection and to peer at this moment directly into my eye feels more disconcerting than it should, as if I can sense I'm about to be judged.

I pull my wool cardy-an old one of my father's-more tightly around me, tucking the loose end under my arm. It's dropped a degree today, the wind must have changed easterly during the night, and later we'll get fog in the valley. I don't need a barograph or a hygrometer these days, I can sense it-pressure changes, a shift in humidity-but, to tell the truth, I also think about the weather to help me take my mind off things. If I didn't have it to ponder right now, I'd already be getting slightly anxious. She's late.

My smoky breath turns to liquid as it hits the window and, if I rub the mist into heavy droplets, I can make it trickle down the glass. From here I can see half the length of the grassy drive as it winds through the tall skeletal limes on either side, until it disappears right, curving downhill towards East Lodge and the lane and the outside world. If I move my head a fraction to the left the drive elongates and the tops of the limes veer suddenly to the side, distorted by the imperfections of handmade glass. Moving it a little to the right splits the beech hedge in two on either side of a bubble. I know every vagary of every pane. I've lived here all my life and, before me, my mother lived here all her life and, before her, her father and grandfather.

Did I tell you that Vivien said in her letter she was returning for good? For some final peace, she said, because now, she said, we ought to be keeping each other company for the rest of our lives, rather than dying lonely and alone. Well, I'll tell you now, I don't feel lonely and I certainly don't feel as if I'm dying, but even so I'm glad she's coming home. Glad, and a little nervous-a surge of apprehension is swelling in my stomach. I can't help wondering what we'll talk about after all these years and, I suppose, if I'll even recognize her.

I'm not, as a rule, an emotional person. I'm far too-how shall I put it?-levelheaded. I was always the sensible sister and Vivi was the adventurer, but my excitement at her impending arrival even surprises me.

She is late, however. I look at my wristwatch-the digital one on my left wrist. Her letter most specifically read one-thirty and, believe me, it's not my timekeeping that's gone awry. I keep a number of clocks just so I can be sure that, even if one or two let me down, I can always find the correct time. When you live by yourself in a house that you very rarely leave and is even more rarely visited, it's essential that you don't lose track of the time. Every minute lost-if left uncorrected-would soon accumulate to an hour, and then hours, until-as you can imagine-you could easily end up living in a completely erroneous time frame.

Our mother, Maud, and I were always waiting for Vivi: in the hall before we went to church or shouting for her from the landing to hurry up for school. And it's now, as I wait for her again, that I find snippets of our childhood jumping into my head, slices of conversation, things I've not thought about since they happened: our first pair of boots, which Vivi had chosen for us, long black ones that laced to the top; long afternoons in the summer holidays spent damming up the brook to create our own tributaries and islands; sneaking into the loggia at harvest time to drink cider before taking it to the men in the fields; giggling with Maud at Clive's rare excitement when he created a Six-spot Burnet with five spots; our first trip to boarding school, holding each other's clammy hands with shared anticipation, squeezed among the chemical bottles in the back of Clive's car.

It was a childhood in perfect balance, so I'm wondering what it was that came along and changed everything. It wasn't just one thing. There's rarely a sole cause for the separation of lives. It's a sequence of events, an inexorable chain reaction where each small link is fundamental, like a snake of upended dominoes. And I've been thinking that the very first one, the one you push to start it all off, must have been when Vivi slipped off our bell tower and nearly died, fifty-nine years ago.


Excerpted from The Sister by Poppy Adams Copyright © 2008 by Poppy Adams. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Message Edited by Maria_H on 01-28-2008 10:06 AM


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hpthatbme
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

This book, and excerpt remind of Garden Spells, I forgot the authors name.
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shelley727
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

Hello,

I would like to sign up to read an advanced copy of The Poppy.

Thank you,
Shelley Moreno
Shelley
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Maria_H
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Registered: ‎07-19-2007
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt


shelley727 wrote:
Hello,

I would like to sign up to read an advanced copy of The Poppy.

Thank you,
Shelley Moreno


Shelley, if you have not already done so, you can click here to learn how to sign up for The Sister.

Thanks!


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lamorgan
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

This sounds like a great book and I've already signed up for my copy. I'm looking forward to the discussion.
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HannibalCat
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

Okay, I'm hooked. I already want to know what's going on here.
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ploabhawes
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

Hi Maria~

Thanks for sharing! Looks very interesting! How do you guys decide which books to pick?

Lisa
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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

As with the last book, "The House At Riverton", this author's prose too, invites me into the pages of the book. I am sure I will purchase it when it becomes available if I don't have the good fortune to get into the group at this time. There are so many books that perhaps are not worthy of awards but they are still wonderful reads! In addition, as I get older, I really enjoy reading about how older people feel. Had I had more insight into the private thoughts of the elderly when my mom was ailing, I would have understood her better. I wish I had. Perhaps I will be able to enlighten my own children so they will understand them (me) better through novels such as these. Also, I am estranged from my own sister and would like to see how the years they have been absent from each other will ultimately effect their relationship.
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thewanderingjew
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

i reread your original message pepper. this time it worked, thanks for your help. this is certainly an interesting learning experience.
g
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2roadsdiverged
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Registered: ‎12-16-2007
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

What an interesting excerpt! I'm looking forward to reading this book and finding out the events that led to the separation of the sisters. Having recently experienced a separation after a 35 year relationship, I liked the sentence re: series of events, rather than one particular item. (I agree) Looking forward to this book!
I already signed up for the advance.
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Luminalfire5
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Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

I hope I get a copy. I'm interested in this book. Myself having an estranged sister, I'm curious to see how the author handles their reunion.
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MaggieL54
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Registered: ‎12-23-2007
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

Amazing how we are all intrigued by the relationship of sisters. I hope I get chosen for this one. I think it will be interesting to see how elderly sisters resolve their differences or whether they still are trapped by old patterns.
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blkeyesuzi
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt



MaggieL54 wrote:
Amazing how we are all intrigued by the relationship of sisters. I hope I get chosen for this one. I think it will be interesting to see how elderly sisters resolve their differences or whether they still are trapped by old patterns.




I agree. I'm so intrigued by Vivi's fall from the bell tower and how her sister feels this instance was the beginning of the separation between them. Already the first little taste is a study in family relationships and how the potential for people's perspective within them can be so different.

I look so forward to getting to know this family; particularly these two sisters.

Suzi
Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
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vivico1
Posts: 3,456
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt


blkeyesuzi wrote:


MaggieL54 wrote:
Amazing how we are all intrigued by the relationship of sisters. I hope I get chosen for this one. I think it will be interesting to see how elderly sisters resolve their differences or whether they still are trapped by old patterns.




I agree. I'm so intrigued by Vivi's fall from the bell tower and how her sister feels this instance was the beginning of the separation between them. Already the first little taste is a study in family relationships and how the potential for people's perspective within them can be so different.

I look so forward to getting to know this family; particularly these two sisters.

Suzi


With my name, I am intrigued about Vivi too! lol
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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gmfuhlman
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

I just got thought reading the about the author and excerpt. Can't wait to read and this book and to find out what bought them together and what cause the estrangement of two sister.
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mrsvaljones
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Registered: ‎12-24-2007
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

What better word than intriguing... I am pretty sure that best sums up the excerpt for this novel. I hope I am included, this looks like a great read.
Valerie Jones
Valerie Jones
"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams..." -Dr. Seuss
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kiakar
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt



MaggieL54 wrote:
Amazing how we are all intrigued by the relationship of sisters. I hope I get chosen for this one. I think it will be interesting to see how elderly sisters resolve their differences or whether they still are trapped by old patterns.





Maria; I can't get signed up for this; everytime I try to click on to my account, it comes up a error. I am registered and was in the last one. Linda
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dhaupt
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

This sounds so good I can't wait to get my copy and dig in.
Deb
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Caliwriter04
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

This is definitely a great read. I look forward to it!
CAG
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CAG
Posts: 218
Registered: ‎01-15-2007
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Re: The Book, the Author & an Excerpt

I was just notified I am in and rather excited about it. This excerpt was very interesting and I love the subject matter. There is a 20 year age difference between my sister and I. We became estranged just before our mother died, several years ago. However, this last year has brought about a peace and the relationship is mending. I will enjoy seeing how this book evolves around the sisters.
CAG
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