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The Three Incestuous Sisters

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3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  2,254 ratings  ·  342 reviews
The Three Incestuous Sisters is an evocative, illustrated book by the best-selling author of The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger. Reminiscent of the gothic style of Edward Gorey, Niffenegger's visually stunning narrative affirms her genius as a storyteller. These rich pages present the tale of three very different sisters: one who is beautiful, one who is smart, a ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Abrams
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Charissa
Jan 18, 2008 Charissa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: freaks like me
Shelves: incest, graphic-novel
So, today is my birthday and my fans, Tracy and Amy have requested that I write a review of this demented book. I find it amusing that the directions for posting a review includes the phrase "What I learned from this book" (as if we're kindergarteners just back from summer vacation)... but in this case it's actually helpful...

One year ago at Christmas time I was shopping with my latest charming, psychotic, former crack dealer boyfriend... and suddenly the cover of this book loomed up at me from
...more
Melody
Seems unduly influenced by Edward Gorey. This story is obviously a labor of love, but it didn't work for me at all. Creepy, pointless, and boring.
Sara
I've read "Time Travelers Wife" and completely fell in love with it. It's one of my all-time favorite books. So after reading it a couple times, I thought I would look into the other works by Audrey Niffenegger. I bought "The Three Incestuous Sisters" over the internet, so I wasn't able to have a glimpse at it before purchasing it (I don't think there was even a cover picture of the book). But when I received my package and opened it up, first thing I noticed was the size and the cover art. It's ...more
Misty
I sort of feel bad for rating this a two, because I know it took an INSANE amount of work to create this book (14 years worth by Niffenegger's reckoning), but honestly, it really was just okay.

Told mostly through pictures (painstakingly created but still only 'ehh' most of the time), the text in this book is really just a series of captions for the pictures. The story is loosely held together through that, and even though it is there -- and a rather disturbing story it is, too -- it never feels
...more
sylvy
Because I was enthralled by Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife , this book immediately caught my eye whilst browsing at Page One, this funky suite of a bookshop at Vivocity (Singapore). I am not in the habit of paying a 50 or more for illustrated books although I don't mind buying them (the pittance that I collect every month for slaving at my job affords me but one paperback every month). So I got one of the staff to rip away the plastic and I read it there and then.

Themes of loneliness, l
...more
Ranee
Nov 09, 2011 Ranee rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the curious one
Nice to be a first born.

Classic tale of sibling rivalry set in grotesque art. Funny at times and mundane sometimes. The story hits me since I have 2 sisters (and definitely Adler would have a field day interpreting our personalities). Though, unlike the book , I think the dynamics of our sibling relationship is way, way much better than those in the book and my sisters agree with me, after all, all of us read this.

A quick read, better admired for it's graphic art than its storyline, The Three In
...more
Sweetp-1
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Beveridge
Audrey Niffenegger, The Three Incestuous Sisters (Abrams, 2005)

Niffenegger's afterword for this “visual novel” (as she calls it, to make it distinct from a graphic novel; I fail to see the difference) says that she originally started with a full story and illustrations, and pared away bits of story until she got to where it is now-- essentially illustrations and captions (very little of the text that accompanies the illustrations runs more than one sentence). Which begs the question: why stop th
...more
Lauren
I'm impressed with Niffenegger's flexibility--creating a picture book like this (what she refers to as a "visual novel") and then writing a novel like The Time Traveler's Wife. The illustrations remind me of Henry Darger's work (http://www.akimbo.biz/UserFiles/Image..., for example) with the thin, fine lines that Niffenegger uses to outline the characters' bodies. I enjoyed the detail she incorporated to reveal the texture of things--the yarn-looking fur of a black cat and the gravelly backgroun ...more
Shannon
Much better story than "The Adventuress". I thought the illustrations were more interesting, as well. I really enjoyed this, actually. It was a bit morbid in parts... but props to the author for managing to make a human fetus drawing look cute rather than creepy. Also.. I appreciate that it took her 14 years to make this.. but it seems kind of weird, since it only takes like.. 10 minutes to read/look at the pictures. It seems like her style of art (aquatone or something like that) is a bit more ...more
Elsbeth
So, so good.

When you are done make sure to read the AFTERWORD because in this she explains that she created aquatints for the images. If you don't know anything about this printing process, you should know that it is incredibly involved and really interesting to watch someone create images in this way. If you have ever seen the movie "Goya's Ghosts" it shows Goya going through the process. Also you can probably youtube it.

That fact alone makes this "visual novel" that much more interesting.
Kristilyn (Reading In Winter)
Oh, Audrey Niffinegger, I appreciate you branching out and trying different techniques and different genres of books, but can we try and stick to the same realm, please?

When I checked out Niffinegger's "labour of love" from the library, I received a weird look from the librarian. Luckily, I was also buying The Time Traveler's Wife, a well-loved book by Niffenegger, which I pointed out was also by the author, hoping that that explained my reading choice. The librarian only had one thing to say, "
...more
Sam Quixote
Three sisters who live alone in an isolated house on the edge of town have their lives disrupted when a handsome young man falls in love with one of the sisters. The pair escape to town when one sister becomes jealous of the couple to the point where she plots to break up the union and take the man for herself. Things go badly, deaths occur, and out of the mess emerges a winged green boy.

The book feels like a dream or a fairy tale. There's minimal text to accompany the large and beautiful drawi
...more
Juushika
The three sisters Clothilde, Ophile, and Bettine live together in peace until Bettine falls in love and conceives a child. Ophile's jealousy sparks tragedy, and Clothilde communes with the unborn baby, beginning a strange sort of family drama. Told in minimal prose with large, sparse line drawings, The Three Incestuous Sisters is an interesting concept with haunting execution, but it remains insubstantial. With so little prose, the story begs better or more complex drawings to bring the it to li ...more
Maryse
I had been eyeing this book since Niffenegger became a household name among hipsters for her breakthrough novel. First thing that caught my attention were the weird drawings. Interesting, but the steep price turned me off

Maybe some other time

Several years and half of "The Time Traveller's wife later, I stumble upon this book again, this time on the sale bin. The gods must be smiling, methinks

I do not understand Audrey Niffenegger, which is code for I don't understand her work. The potential is t
...more
Darth
I read this in a few minutes at Hastings last night.
I let myself be dragged along while my girlfriend picked out a few movies to watch - although we have dozens of unwatched DVDs at home - somehow this trip was still needed?

Anyway, after a bit of digging through the movies, then trying without any luck to find a game to rent - I wandered to the books (gotta LOVE Hastings) and decided the 4 - 5 THOUSAND unread books I had at the house were enough for now.

I plopped in one of the end cap chairs and
...more
Rob
To say that I'm fascinated by the book is to put it mildly. I don't know why, since it has a very simple story line and the illustrations remind me of a first grader's doodling. I just am!
An analogy: Years ago we went to the Louvre and the Mona Lisa was on display at the time. There was a big crowd and when we were able to get close enough, there was a old gentleman in front. He stood out because he was neatly dressed in a suit and tie, while the others are typical tourists mostly in jeans and w
...more
Molly
It's probably weird that this is the only Audrey Niffenegger book I've ever read, but it's really good. Her aquatints are so evocative that the spare text in the book is absolutely perfect. There's a vaguely supernatural element to the book, too, and it's delightful.
Joanie
I didn't even know this book existed until I saw an add for Niffenegger's new "visual novel. " I was so happy that the library had it (especially after I read it-don't think I want to own it.) On first glance it looks like a children's picture book but don't be fooled -although not likely with a title like this I guess. As one would imagine, the story is really twisted. Most of it is told through the pictures which are created through a process so elaborate I can't even begin to wrap my brain ar ...more
Wayne
Oct 12, 2013 Wayne added it
Recommends it for: someone i didn't like

Mmmmmm !!!.....and ALAS.

This book arouses my suspicions of the Arts.
Once artists were required to have skills.

As I said to Alfonso one evening at the conclusion of a Violin Concerto at a Sydney Symphony Concert,in the Concert Hall of Sydney's mythic Opera House:
"This is one place where you can't FAKE it."

This book has two levels of required skills - writing skills and drawing skills and perhaps colour skills.
So, three levels.

Mercifully it took me very little time to finish this book.

Vivek Tejuja
This one is a strange book. And at the heart of it, not so strange after all. It is all about envy, longing, and gorgeously illustrated. Though the book can be read almost immediately and maybe within fifteen minutes, you still will pore and ponder over it. The book has a very Goth appeal to it (which I personally loved) and it somehow just adds to the atmosphere and no better time to read this book than Winter.

The book as the title suggests, is about three sisters, Bettine, Ophile and Clothild
...more
Dara
Okie doke...have NO clue what I was reserving at the library when I did so on line. I saw this book online and it was by the author of The Time Traveler's Wife (which I loved). So I thought I would read it...

What I got was the size of a coffee table book, about (according to the title) incestuous sisters (not something I would put on MY coffee table~!) So I read it...found out at the end it is an Art book, not a novel and it made no sense to me...strange, strange story...
Beth
There was a strangeness to this story that I ultimately didn't 'get', but I was attracted to it rather than repelled. The narrative is very bare, just giving enough to fill in the details that the illustrations leave. The illustrations themselves were fabulous and rather reminiscent of Edward Gorey. I had no idea that the author was such a talented artist. An intriguing book, good for readers with eclectic taste.
Nikki Barton
This is the second graphic novel I've read by Audrey Niffenegger. This story is about three sisters; Clothilde, Ophile, and Bettine. Clothilde, the oldest sister, was considered to be the smartest, Ophile was the most talented, and Bettine, the youngest, was the most attractive. Bettine falls in love with the lighthouse keeper's son, Paris. They conceive a child. Clothilde is insanely jealous of Bettine and is also in love with Paris. Ophile is able to connect with the fetus and knows that he wi ...more
Jeane
Dec 07, 2009 Jeane rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
the word "incestuous" intrigued me. my inner perv expected something juicy to occur but i was disappointed. there wasn't actual incest, but incest where the sisters were able to get into each others' heads and make a mess of things. strange storyline and the illustrations creeped me out a bit. i was impressed that the author took her time to make all those etchings. a lot of work went into that. awesome.
Aaj
Feb 17, 2014 Aaj rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like paintings
Well, the story is kinda simple old tale with love, pain and sibling rivalries.
Don't expect too much from it and you like it!
I loved it because there are very few characters in this story and author has kept it simple.

Yes, I grabbed this book thinking there would be some steamy hot action inside....but guess what..there's not!!

The size of the book is humongous! It is hard to hide the title from people's eyes. :)
(You can do some deadlifts using the book though..)

If you like to draw, paint or
...more
Kizz Robinson
It's weird, it's beautiful, it's thought-provoking, it's poetic. It's not shocking, as the title might lead you to believe. Read it. Then you'll understand.
Laci Pačaj
Beyond my abstract thinking and not really my cup of tea.
Lisa
Here we have yet another absurd offering from Audrey Niffenegger.

When recently reading her equally odd work, Raven Girl, I came across a reviewer that said that while she first thought Raven was a peculiar turn from the author of the commerically bestselling phenom The Time Traveler's Wife, she quickly realized that in fact, Time Traveler was the odd-man-out when considering Niffenegger's cannon. I agree 100%, and if I came across it again, I shall give that reviewer credit.

My thought process wh
...more
Purkoy
If I were to judge this book on its artistic merit, it would rate a four, maybe even a five on one of my more generous days. But, given that it is a story, first and foremost, I can't really do that.

Quick summary, so spoilers from here:

Ophile, Clothilde, and Bettine are three sisters living in a house by the sea. They are mostly defined by the color of their hair, blackish blue, red, and blonde respectively. One day, their neighbor dies and his son comes in his place. His name is Paris. Things g
...more
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Why is it titled this way? 6 114 Jan 01, 2014 03:43AM  
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Audrey Niffenegger (born June 13, 1963 in South Haven, Michigan) is a writer and artist. She is also a professor in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Columbia College Chicago.

Niffenegger's debut novel, The Time Traveler's Wife (2003), was a national bestseller. The Time Traveler's Wife is an unconventional love story that centers on a man with a strange genetic disorder that causes him to unpre
...more
More about Audrey Niffenegger...
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“I make books because I love them as objects; because I want to put the pictures and the words together, because I want to tell a story.” 2 likes
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