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LeisaPS
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎01-03-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

As I was reading this rather dreary book, with too much technical info about moths and science stuff that almost made me want to put it down, I was picturing the story in my head as an old black and white movie -- then I started touching it up with vivid colours, just small spatters here and there: Vivi arriving at the house after her long absence laden with her "bling" (pg. 25); the moths and caterpillars that Clive and Ginny are working on in their attic lab or that were seen outdoors (pg.47: the monster of a caterpillar Ginny found at age 6 and pg. 250: the heap of freshly mutilated moths left on the flagstones by some pranksters); the green and blue peacock-print evening dress that Maud was wearing before presenting Clive with the Robinsons trap (pg. 102); baby Samuel Morris after his birth, a shiny, livid purple colour (pg. 196), etc., finally fading to the pale yellow walls of Ginny's "new" prison.
 
It could be doable as a suspense movie a la Bette Davis complete with dark lurking shadows (Ginny creeping around her mansion spying on her sister) and flashbacks.....
 
(Please note that a few weeks ago I happened to catch most of "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" on the television as I was hunkered down in bed dreading shovelling newfallen snow and reading this book!!!)
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MsMorninglight
Posts: 80
Registered: ‎01-21-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today



dhaupt wrote:
I have to say that I was disappointed in the ending, there were so many questions that I had throughout the book that I was hoping to have answered in the end and alas I know no more now than then. In a thread a bit farther back someone said that Ginny failed as a narrator I think I'll have to agree with them.


I agree with you dhaupt.  There were just so much left unsaid and too much said about moths.  I don't like to pick a book apart, so I stopped posting about it about half way through the discussion because, I'd read on to the end and was not happy with the way it ended (or didn't end).  
 
Mostly I'm disappointed, because, I'd thought the book had potential in the beginning, but by about the 5th chapter, I had a bad feeling it was going to make a lot of promises that were never going to be kept and that's exactly what happened for me.
 
 
 
 



"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." - Henry James
Reader 4
pa1822
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎10-08-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I don't necessarily agree that Ginny is an unsatisfactory narrator.  Maybe instead we are only meant to witness events as filtered through the mind of someone with some kind of mental deficiency.  We aren't told what the deficiency is, or other facts we would like to know, because Ginny herself doesn't know, or ackowledge them. 
To me, it is interesting trying to figure it out, she doesn't feel normal emotion, but isn't a sociopath.  She thinks she knows right from wrong, but what she's really feeling is a need for structure and order.  Structure and order is right to her and anything else is wrong.  When her sister started to tell the truth about Ginny's "peculiarities" and how they affected the family, that disrupted what Ginny knew about the structure and order of her whole life.  I think it was intolerable to her, and that was the catalyst for her deciding to kill Vivien.  
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jakeyc
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-16-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I definitely agree with you Beth.  I was also very disappointed in the book because there were too many ambiguities.  The characters and the story just did not flow smoothly and were very confusing at times.  Halfway through the book I was ready to put it down, but I wanted to see how it ended.  I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone. 
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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today

Maybe the problem is that we old fuddy-duddies were brogut up to believe that a story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and that it should make sense.

In a way, this book seems sort of half way to Ulysses, a book that you aren't supposed to understand, but just to experience. Except that I know Ulysses, and sorry, Ms. Baron, but this book is no Ulysses.


jakeyc wrote:
I definitely agree with you Beth. I was also very disappointed in the book because there were too many ambiguities. The characters and the story just did not flow smoothly and were very confusing at times. Halfway through the book I was ready to put it down, but I wanted to see how it ended. I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone.



_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today



bentley wrote:
No, I think most folks felt that way.


Yes, Michael's character was undeveloped. I guess the author just wanted a way for Ginny to get food and stuff since she was a recluse and never went beyond the door. So she had this Michael  selling furniture and bringing her what she needed.
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bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today


Everyman wrote:
Okay, now that we're done the book, a little poll.

Which one was "The Sister?" Or was there only one, and Ginny and Vivi were in some way the same person?




When the policeman can back; he told Ginny that he didn't know that she was "the sister". I think that was meant to be the catch that connected us to the title (weak). I thought at first there were two sisters; then was not sure (did Ginny have multiple personalities); toyed with that idea and came back to their being two sisters because of the Eileen events.
With the scant details; who knows.
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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today



Bonnie824 wrote:
I thought the ending was fascinating. No Ginny did not get punished- but she really was not mentally responsible for what she did IMO. It makes you wonder if all those years the family tried to keep from facing her oddness and maybe having her live in a clinical setting were wasted. She did seem happier with the structure and routine of an institutional setting.
 
I felt bad for Vivi, but I really wasn't that invested in her as a character. I did wonder what made her come home- and if she had some kind of plans to move Ginny somewhere and keep the house.
 
I don't think Michael thought of Ginny as a true friend, but I do think they had a relationship and he was a base for her for many years.


I also found the ending fascinating, Bonnie. Ginny really seems to be from another world, one where she enjoys being a hermit. I think she wants to be alone with her own thoughts and when Vivi came back, things started to change. Ginny has no emotional coping skills, which leads to the ultimate climax. It is interesting to think of her as a moth, as others have suggested. She truly became what she had studied as a child.
 
I got the impression that Ginny was in a locked mental ward, and that her mind told her it was the best place for her. She stayed in her big house for a very long time alone, but tried to get everything down to a manageable size. Here she only has one room and her coccoon is a better size.
 
As far as Vivi, she came back too late and didn't really have anything good to say to her sister. I don't think she realized how much her coming home threatened Ginny, ultimately leading to murder. Michael seemed to know how close to get and how far to stay away. He did things to help Ginny - some repairs, groceries - yet knew to keep away. It would enable him to purchase the things he wanted.
 
All in all, I enjoyed the book.
DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today



bookhunter wrote:
I have been thinking about this issue of whether Ginny would be considered mentally impaired in a court and meet the definition Everyman quotes above.  As the reader, we were privy to her thoughts and see her as somewhat intelligent, reasonable (in a weird way) able to express her thoughts and actions.  For example, what Everyman points out on p 242-243 tells us, the reader, that she definitely knew what she was doing.
 
BUT when you look at her interactions with others, she is barely beyond monosyllabic responses.  The whole exchange with Michael about how special their bond is and how well they understand each other is all in her head.  To the outsider (even to Michael), all that happened was Michael slightly nodded to her as she is put into the car.
 
In court, she may not have come across as competent of understanding.
 
It makes you think about people who have whatever physical or mental disabilities that impair their ability to express themselves.  What is really going on inside their head?
 
That is one of the elements of the book I enjoyed--it gives us insight into the mind of someone  that NO ONE understands!
Ann, bookhunter (disclaimer:  not an attorney nor have ever played one on TV so really have no idea what I am talking about)



Good points, book. It was very interesting to try to figure out what was going on only to find that it wasn't really possible. There are some minds that we will never understand.
DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today

[ Edited ]
I think the author wants us, the reader, to see and experience  everything from Ginney's point of view.  Ginney was pretty much left in the dark, so to speak.  She too had no idea why Vivi returned home and neither do we.  Ginney is really ignorant to everything except what she has fabricated in her head so we are left to be ignorant too.  If that was indeed the author's objective, it seems like she has done one heckofa job. :smileyhappy:  Remember too that, was it her great great grandfather, who had the stained glass window made in the house with family crests that had nothing to do with his family at all!  It was just fabricated.  He just made it all up.  So has Ginney.  I think we're fortunate that there are no Stones left to be unturned :smileywink:

MsMorninglight wrote:


dhaupt wrote:
I have to say that I was disappointed in the ending, there were so many questions that I had throughout the book that I was hoping to have answered in the end and alas I know no more now than then. In a thread a bit farther back someone said that Ginny failed as a narrator I think I'll have to agree with them.


I agree with you dhaupt.  There were just so much left unsaid and too much said about moths.  I don't like to pick a book apart, so I stopped posting about it about half way through the discussion because, I'd read on to the end and was not happy with the way it ended (or didn't end).  
 
Mostly I'm disappointed, because, I'd thought the book had potential in the beginning, but by about the 5th chapter, I had a bad feeling it was going to make a lot of promises that were never going to be kept and that's exactly what happened for me.
 
 
 
 





Message Edited by Carmenere_lady on 03-16-2008 07:13 AM
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


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"Um, maybe."
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It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today



Everyman wrote:
Okay, now that we're done the book, a little poll.

Which one was "The Sister?" Or was there only one, and Ginny and Vivi were in some way the same person?


Good question, Everyman. My vote would be that Vivi is "the sister" because Ginny seems to tie her to everything. Ginny is telling us her story - how she came to murder her sister. I think she wants us to think it is Vivi's fault. Vivi was the popular one. Vivi had her mother's love. Vivi got out of the house. Vivi left her alone in the house. These are just a few of the things we get from Ginny's point of view. We also know that Ginny seems to have limited feelings, and I think the title would be hers. It isn't "My Sister," instead "The Sister." There is no ownership here. just my thoughts :smileywink:
 
DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today



BethD wrote:
I guess I shouldn't say I don't understand the role of the dead baby - Vivi's walking by his grave without any notice was the catalyst that set into motion her murder, but it just didn't feel authentic to me. 


I do think Vivi's walking by the grave without  any attention was the catalyst for her murder. It seems to me that Ginny was looking for problems with Vivi, although I did find her reaction to Vivi and the grave to be very powerful. Suddenly it seemed that she "knew" that Vivi had abandoned the baby, that she hadn't ever cared for him. I think Ginny felt abandoned by Vivi and that seeing her walk by the grave was like reliving the abandonment all over again. While Ginny was upset about her son; I also think the bitterness, anger, and hurt from her sister's leaving came back in a powerful way. Vivian paid the ultimate price for cutting ties for so long. Ginny didn't have control over who came and went in her life until she killed Vivian.

 
DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
Inspired Contributor
Tasses
Posts: 117
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today


DSaff wrote:


BethD wrote:
I guess I shouldn't say I don't understand the role of the dead baby - Vivi's walking by his grave without any notice was the catalyst that set into motion her murder, but it just didn't feel authentic to me. 


I do think Vivi's walking by the grave without  any attention was the catalyst for her murder. It seems to me that Ginny was looking for problems with Vivi, although I did find her reaction to Vivi and the grave to be very powerful. Suddenly it seemed that she "knew" that Vivi had abandoned the baby, that she hadn't ever cared for him. I think Ginny felt abandoned by Vivi and that seeing her walk by the grave was like reliving the abandonment all over again. While Ginny was upset about her son; I also think the bitterness, anger, and hurt from her sister's leaving came back in a powerful way. Vivian paid the ultimate price for cutting ties for so long. Ginny didn't have control over who came and went in her life until she killed Vivian.

 





Herein lies another issue with the story. Perhaps nothing Ginny told us was correct. Perhaps there was no arrangement between the sisters to surrogate a baby. Perhaps Ginny had an affair with Vivi's husband or perhaps she had an incestuous relationship with her father. Perhaps there never was a baby.... See where this is headed?

If we are to believe Ginny capable of distorting the truth to the degree we see from the final chapters, then we must also assume that everything else she told us is unreliable.

Then ... we must assume the whole tale a convoluted mess of nothing. It's one thing for an author to take on an unreliable narrator, but there's usually a voice of reason somehow located within the telling to balance what's really happening. At the end of The Sister, we're left not knowing anything at all. And that makes a reader's investment in the story worthless.
See all my reviews at: Reading Rumpus and Many A Quaint & Curious Volume
Inspired Wordsmith
krb2g
Posts: 289
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I am not an old fuddy-duddy, but a graduate student who until about two months ago was determined to write my dissertation on American modernism (I'm shifting back to work from about 1850 onwards now, but that's a different story), and I generally really enjoy reading books with the kind of narrative disruption that Ms. Adams is using.

I don't need narrators to be particularly reliable or even pleasant to enjoy being inside their heads. Stephen Dedalus enters Ulysses "displeased and sleepy," in The Sound and the Fury Quentin Compson has adopted his father's nihilistic perspective and would rather commit incest with his sister, and ultimately kill himself than deal with the fact that she's no longer a virgin, and his brother, Benjy, is even more mentally limited than Ginny--he only moans, and has no sense time unfolding chronologically at all (so when he hears golfers calling "Caddie!" he thinks of his long-gone sister Caddy), and in Pale Fire Charles Kinbote is a psychopath and a sociopath who hijacks his neighbor's last poem through obsessive footnotes about his fictional homeland of Zembla.

The disappointment in this book, for me, was not that Ms. Adams leaves ambiguities (often the most fun part of the text, whether they happen on the level of the single word (the pun) or in response to questions of fact or even theme), was certainly not that she used an unreliable narrator who narrated the story in a chronologically displaced way (I thought Ms. Adams did a relatively good job handling that aspect of it, and for the story she was trying to tell, it worked), and was not even that she overwrote the moth trope (though I think it ended up being a bit heavy-handed, and a high percentage of the text when she was done), but rather, when all the aspects of the book came together, despite the formal successes I enjoyed, I just didn't care about the characters or what happened to them. I'm not entirely sure why I felt this way--as we've been discussing things on the boards, it's been great to get into specific moments.

I think Ginny is uneven, and I think my problem is the basic premise of the text. To me, at least, the narrative premise reads that Ginny, our first-person narrator is conscious of the act of story-telling (in the organization of the story into days, in the ending at "Today," in her multiple acts of using the second person to address and ally herself with her readers) and that she is specifically writing a book (there's no sense that this text is a found one, whether collected through letters, or in a journal or something like that) and I just find it very hard to believe that a woman who can barely look strangers in the eye would want to share so many personal facts about herself or even justify the murder of her sister to strangers.



Everyman wrote:
Maybe the problem is that we old fuddy-duddies were brogut up to believe that a story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and that it should make sense.

In a way, this book seems sort of half way to Ulysses, a book that you aren't supposed to understand, but just to experience. Except that I know Ulysses, and sorry, Ms. Baron, but this book is no Ulysses.


jakeyc wrote:
I definitely agree with you Beth. I was also very disappointed in the book because there were too many ambiguities. The characters and the story just did not flow smoothly and were very confusing at times. Halfway through the book I was ready to put it down, but I wanted to see how it ended. I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone.





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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today



Tasses wrote:
Herein lies another issue with the story. Perhaps nothing Ginny told us was correct. Perhaps there was no arrangement between the sisters to surrogate a baby. Perhaps Ginny had an affair with Vivi's husband or perhaps she had an incestuous relationship with her father. Perhaps there never was a baby.... See where this is headed?

If we are to believe Ginny capable of distorting the truth to the degree we see from the final chapters, then we must also assume that everything else she told us is unreliable.

Then ... we must assume the whole tale a convoluted mess of nothing. It's one thing for an author to take on an unreliable narrator, but there's usually a voice of reason somehow located within the telling to balance what's really happening. At the end of The Sister, we're left not knowing anything at all. And that makes a reader's investment in the story worthless.

I didn't find my investment in the story worthless. No, we don't know how much of the story is correct because it is from Ginny's POV. But, I like a book that keeps me guessing. Ginny was born, lived with her family until all left the house in one way or another, lived in the house alone for about 50 years, and was in confinement at the end. She was closed up without real human contact for so long that she would believe her own story. As I read the end, I felt that Ginny was telling me how she got to the point where she needed to be confined (either a mental hospital or prison). I think she knew she was crazy but didn't know how to "fix" it. It is too bad that murdering her sister is what finally set her free from that house.

 
DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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renhair
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎01-31-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I agree with you about the unanswered questions, but I'm not sure if I'm disappointed or not.  I had put this in a different thread, but thought it appropriate here...
 
I enjoyed this story, but it reminds me of an exercise we did in grade school....(I'm sure you've all done something similar) There are two doors.  Behind one is a treasure and behind the other is a tiger.  Write an essay on which door you chose, what was behind it, and what you did.  I never minded writing the essay, but I always wanted to know what the person that created the situation did.....I wanted the answer.  This book reminds me of that....it's based largely on my assumptions, and I never really get the author's answers.....


dhaupt wrote:
I have to say that I was disappointed in the ending, there were so many questions that I had throughout the book that I was hoping to have answered in the end and alas I know no more now than then. In a thread a bit farther back someone said that Ginny failed as a narrator I think I'll have to agree with them.


Frequent Contributor
renhair
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎01-31-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

Cylon-  I, too, thought that was a turning point.  I thought that Ginny would see that Vivi was looking after her best interest.....hmmmmm
 
I enjoyed the book and while I wouldn't rate it as the best book I've ever read, I would recommend to some friends.  The fill-in-the-blanks really works for some people and I think it would be a great book for a book club (other than this one) to read.....look how much discussion it generated!

CylonReader wrote:
 
I did find it strange that Ginny and her sister had this bonding moment when Vivien tosses the woman from Social Services out on her ear, but things change drastically when Vivien finally shares her theory of Maud's "accident".
 
I agree with some of my fellow readers that the details regarding moths was often tedious, but I found the book pretty riveting from Chapter 20 through the end of the book.



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renhair
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎01-31-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

Interesting point, Everyman!

Everyman wrote:

Another minor point, I like the way she sees the peep hole in the door as having the purpose of letting her see out instead of letting the nurses see in!


Inspired Correspondent
Bonnie824
Posts: 951
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today



DSaff wrote:

 


I also found the ending fascinating, Bonnie. Ginny really seems to be from another world, one where she enjoys being a hermit. I think she wants to be alone with her own thoughts and when Vivi came back, things started to change. Ginny has no emotional coping skills, which leads to the ultimate climax. It is interesting to think of her as a moth, as others have suggested. She truly became what she had studied as a child.
 
I got the impression that Ginny was in a locked mental ward, and that her mind told her it was the best place for her. She stayed in her big house for a very long time alone, but tried to get everything down to a manageable size. Here she only has one room and her coccoon is a better size.
 
As far as Vivi, she came back too late and didn't really have anything good to say to her sister. I don't think she realized how much her coming home threatened Ginny, ultimately leading to murder. Michael seemed to know how close to get and how far to stay away. He did things to help Ginny - some repairs, groceries - yet knew to keep away. It would enable him to purchase the things he wanted.
 
All in all, I enjoyed the book.


Me too, although in all honesty, I mostly buy to read science fiction/fantasy/paranormal romance books or sometimes contemporary general fiction with family relationship elements, and doubt I would on my own buy a book about two old ladies. I did find Ginny's mind and the way she viewed the world very interesting though, and aside from TMI about moth's and killing them, enjoyed reading this one. I think this would be a great assigned reading book for a college psychology class.
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renhair
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎01-31-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I think it could go either way, but from my perspective, Vivi was "The Sister" - a.k.a. the interloper.   The non-posessive "the" rather than "my" fits quite nicely with Ginny's detachment from things. 

Everyman wrote:
I'll answer my own question in a separate post.

I have rejected the one-person theory and think there were definitely two sisters.

On the basis of content, "The Sister" should have been Ginny. Her development was what the book was all about. But why should a book which (ostensibly) she wrote be called that? If it referred to her at all, it should have been "My Story" or "The Leipdopterist" or something else that she would use as a name to refer to herself. She would be unlikely ever to refer to herself as "the sister," wouldn't she?

So in that respect, I think it's a bad title.

Everyman wrote:
Okay, now that we're done the book, a little poll.

Which one was "The Sister?" Or was there only one, and Ginny and Vivi were in some way the same person?





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