Sleep, Pale Sister
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Sleep, Pale Sister

3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  2,332 ratings  ·  203 reviews
Before the sweet delight of Chocolat, before the heady concoction that is Blackberry Wine, and before the tart pleasures of Five Quarters of the Orange, bestselling author Joanne Harris wrote Sleep, Pale Sister -- a gothic tourde-force that recalls the powerfully dark sensibility of her novel Holy Fools.

Originally published in 1994 -- and never before available in the Unit...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Megan
This was actually the first of Joanne Harris' books that I've read, which strikes me as odd since I consider myself a fan. But I realized that that "fan" status is based solely on the viewing of the movie Chocolat (Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche) because the story was so wonderful. But that, of course, is absurd, because movies and their books are rarely more than representative of one another.

Having said that, I had high hopes that stayed with me through about the first half of this book, at whi...more
Lisa (scarlet21)
One of Joanne's first and 'lost' books which entices, shocks and lulls you into it's gripping clutches.
Told in the different voices of the main characters we unravel the story of Henry Chester who has dark hidden secrets and his lovely, young wife Effie as they become seduced by dark shadowy characters and drugs into a world of blackmail and intrigue.
Madness plays a big part in this novel, whether it has its roots in drugs, temperament, grief, lust or superstition but we definately see a spiral...more
Tocotin
Bought this book because the title sounded intriguing, and there was a promise of some of the story being set in a brothel. The beginning was really good, but then it became more and more predictable, then mystical in a very cheap way, and then simply boring. At one point I started to wonder if and how anything was going to happen, because the story seemed to be so close to the end, and there were still over 100 pages remaining.
It tried very hard to be a VERY Gothic novel (the word "Gothic" was...more
Ana Mardoll
Sleep, Pale Sister / 9780061843181

"Sleep, Pale Sister" grabs you from the first page and never lets go. As you are dragged through the lives of a pale victim and her three persecutors, you are shown by turns the motivations and inner thoughts of her tormentors, by the compelling switches between narrative viewpoint. This is one of the hardest tricks to pull off in novels, yet Harris manages to make it look effortless. Each tormentor addresses themselves to us, explains their motives and urges th...more
Free Fall
An elderly artist paints a young girl-child and falls in love with his impression of her, as a sweet creature who can only be totally obedient. A rake sees her, at which time she discovers passion in having her affair with him. Then, she starts developing an alter ego, which leads to tragic consequences.

None of the main characters were "nice," in any way. They were all deeply flawed, making me sympathize with them, pity them, and hate them.

The story jumps from one point of view to the next, with...more
Paula
'Sleep, Pale Sister' is one of Joanne Harris's earliest novels and due to popular demand was re~released and when you read it, you will find out why. Sleep, Pale Sister tells the story of Effie and the men in her life who set out to hurt in the cruelest manner possible. Effie finds a way to have her revenge in this dark novel. The chapters are told from the perspective of each separate characters which makes the story more interesting, you find out more about their pasts, the people they are.

A...more
Hannah
Joanne Harris, you never fail to mesmerize me.

Just a little before reading this, I read Gentlemen and Players, and it instantly proved to me the beauty and genius of her writing. She has a true talent of capturing ones mind, twisting ones heart, and using her word-play to prove her skill and delicacy. I just realized how annoying and sappy that sounded...

Simply put, she has made her way into a position as one of my favorite writers, capable of the gothic and the whimsicle, and one of the most t...more
Annabel Joseph
This book fit squarely into my super-love category. Mysterious, sensual, provocative, magical. On the cover a reviewer calls this book "a hauntingly evocative laudanum-dream of a novel" and I must say I agree completely. I have not read any of Ms. Harris's other books and I hesitate to, because this book seems to be a departure from her other type of work...and since I LOVE this book I imagine her other work might not work for me as well. But who knows? I might pick up Blackberry Wine.

But I dig...more
Cathy
Have almost finished this book and it was the first book I read from this author. I found it to be a novel which draws you in completely, submerges you into its dreamlike and sometimes murky depths. It possesses a guiltridden, almost suffocating atmosphere interwoven with nightmarish sequences evoked by laudanum- and chloral hydrate abuse. The main male character reminded me very strongly of my childhood home (the guiltridden, suffocating part) and more especially of my misogynous father - Joann...more
Lil Black Riding Hood
I read this book when I was too young.
When I first read it, it disturbed me a little bit, I have to be honest, but the blame is on the librarian that told me that was a cool book for a 9 years old kid.
So basically, I didn't like it when I first finished it, but now,being 24 I have to say that's a really good book,the story is pretty intriguing and there is a nice revenge at the end.
Liked it now, not before :)
Peter Chandler
A darkly gothic tale indeed, engaging and provocative in parts if certainly not without its flaws. Those flaws mainly comprising of two and, when the book gets one of those right it seems to go awry with the other. The constant switching of narrators between the four main characters can create a rather dislocating experience and make it difficult to really connect with any of them. Then, particularly with the unnecessarily drawn out ending, when it does linger on any one voice for long enough it...more
Bonnie
I just finished reading two other Joanne Harris books, so I decided to read this one. To be brutally honest, the story was really bizarre and I'm not entirely sure I understand what happened.

What's the book about? Well, just take a middle aged artist who's also a pedophile, his slightly creepy, very thin, very young, drug addict wife, a brothel owner, one of its' patrons and a girl that died twenty years ago, add in a little witchcraft and a death scene befitting Romeo and Juliet and there you...more
Noodles78
I found this really confusing, not just the story, but how it made me feel. It was beautifully told, as if through a dream but I hated all the characters. I loathed Henry but detested Fanny more, I saw her as a conniving, manipulative, cold-hearted cow. Where Henry was clearly a confused controlling idiot, who had a love/hate relationship with women and didn't see them as anything but something that he can use or gain from. Just the kind of person you'd want to take home to meet the folks!!

Effie...more
Lizzie
Completely different from her other stuff. Compelling yet left a weird taste in the mouth as I couldnt put it down on the other hand not sure if I enjoyed it either. It was very dark.
Grace
Aug 10, 2007 Grace rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Even though I checked this out, my sister read it first, and couldn't stop raving about it. I found it original and dark, just like Harris' 'Chocolat'.
Faith
Jan 11, 2009 Faith rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2005
Sleep, pale sister is Joanne Harris' second novel and written before her success. It's nothing like Harris later books. Totally different, even thou some of Harris "standard things" such as chocolate and gypsies and dark pasts appear. "A hauntingly evocative laudanum-dream of a novel" it stands on the cover. That's quite right. I would indeed call the novel mad. All the persons in it are mad, crazy. Haunted by their pasts. The novel is also very confusing since there are four different Is who te...more
Trisha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy
So- this is tough book for me to rate. My husband recommended the book because he knows I love Joanne Harris, and reading her books has always been a wonderful journey for me. With this book I kept waiting for the moment when I would start to enjoy the journey, but that moment never came.

For me, Joanne Harris is first and foremost an incredible story teller with a magical gift of weaving words into interesting stories and wonderful characters. In this case, although she did a fine job telling he...more
Eleclyah

Nonostante la pubblicazione in Italia sia avvenuta solo nel 2005, in realtà Il fante di cuori e la dama di picche (titolo originale: Sleep, pale sister) è uno dei primissimi romanzi di Joanne Harris, pubblicato nel lontano 1993 quando ancora le sue ambientazioni ricorrevano in un'Inghilterra gotica e spettrale.

Tuttavia già si scopre, anche in un romanzo così diverso rispetto a quelli a cui la Harris ci ha abiutati da Choloat, la particolare magia che l'autrice sa infondere nelle sue parole e nel...more
Marija
This book is rather reminiscent of the sensation novels written by Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Wilkie Collins in the latter half of the 19th Century, though the subject matter of Sleep, Pale Sister is much more risqué than any of those works published back then. It’s a sort of twist on the Gothic ghost story and the madwoman in the attic theme, interlaced with a mystical Middle Eastern flavor.

I loved that the book is told through a split narrative. Each voice is so different, adding various laye...more
Helena
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tracy Terry
A reproduced edition, this was actually first written before the author achieved any real recognition, and you can tell this as the whole novel reads as if it's some sort of practise run, almost as if Harris is dipping her toes in the water to see what sort of response she'll get.

Dark, very dark, Sleep, Pale Sister is set in Victorian London, the story being told by 4 different narrators - Henry, Effie, Mose and, Fanny, all of them weak and not one of them particularly likable characters, I espe...more
Vanessa
Sleep, Pale Sister was originally published in 1994 and was republished after Joanne Harris became popular with Chocolat. I haven't read Chocolat yet, but I am definitely her fan after finishing Sleep, Pale Sister. The novel is enrapturing in its prose, and the writing really does read like poetry throughout the book. The story is at once beautiful and sad, and I found myself hypnotized by Harris' world of drugs, lust, and betrayal. You don't have to like the characters to appreciate the writing...more
Alīna Rence
Ļoti reti gadās tā, ka mani grāmata nomāc (varbūt iepriekš man ir vienkārši paveicies vai arī instinktīvi esmu izvēlējusies iedvesmojošas grāmatas?). Tomēr šoreiz diemžēl grāmata mani patiešām nomāca. Es nevaru tai pārmest neinteresantumu, "nedzīvus tēlus" vai vēl nez ko, tomēr šīs grāmatas tematika acīmredzot nav priekš manis. Šo grāmatu slavē par detalizētu un precīzu, pat virtuozu tēlu psiholoģisko portretējumu, un es nevaru tam iebilst. Tēli patiešām aprakstīti tā, ka tu redzi viņus savā izt...more
Ana Mardoll
Sleep, Pale Sister / 0-06-078711-2

"Sleep, Pale Sister" grabs you from the first page and never lets go. As you are dragged through the lives of a pale victim and her three persecutors, you are shown by turns the motivations and inner thoughts of her tormentors, by the compelling switches between narrative viewpoint. This is one of the hardest tricks to pull off in novels, yet Harris manages to make it look effortless. Each tormentor addresses themselves to us, explains their motives and urges th...more
Nikki
Joanne Harris' second novel probably could have done with more editing before it was re-released, it's true. At first glance it's quite different to her other writing, but slowly you can see themes in it that come up over and over again in her writing. Slowly it becomes more and more creepy and mystical and strange, from something that was more like realism. Creepy both in the supernatural sense and in the creepy pervert sense, really.

The writing is pretty compelling, just like her other writing...more
JayeL
Sep 25, 2009 JayeL rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
One aspect of this book that I liked was the way Joanne Harris used tarot cards as section headings in her book. I was fortunate to read the bulk of this book on a plane where I wasn't constantly interrupted by life. It helped me to understand the story a bit better.

This is another one of Joanne Harris's mystical or ethereal novels. It wasn't one of my favorites. I enjoyed Blackberry Wine and Chocolat better. I just didn't get the point of the story. It was a little too obscure for me especially...more
Jacqui Mccann
A dark gothic ghost story that portrays the disturbing aspect of the Victorian era where men were able to have control over women. Henry Chester grows up with perversive sexual tendencies and ideals. As an artist Henry paints young girls in submissive portraits and nurtures the idea of a perfect women which he thinks he has found in his young protege Effie, grooming her to become the perfect dutiful 'wife' Howevever, whilst Henry tries to maintain control by sedating his beautiful wife with laun...more
Kaelie
I have read this book several times (I should probably just buy it for all the times I go to the library for it) and every time I notice something different. The first time I read it, I didn't really understand the storyline, because it requires you to pay close attention to details and everyone's history--not too difficult, in the long run.

The characters were just so different and interesting that I couldn't help but get sucked in by this book. Effie is so weak physically but she is spiritually...more
Cinzia
Atmosfera gotica e onirica, poeti e pittori preraffaelliti, passione per donne-bambine, una pizzico di perversione che non guasta mai e abbondanti dosi di laudano...questa è la ricetta del libro della Harris, che personalmente non ho trovato così ben riuscita.
Ogni capitolo racconta la storia dal punto di vista di uno dei personaggi principali, come se fosse il loro diario, ma questa tecnica che di solito è abbastanza azzeccata in questo caso porta solo smarrimento nel lettore.
La parte iniziale...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Joanne Harris was born in Barnsley in 1964, of a French mother and an English father. She studied Modern and Mediaeval Languages at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge and was a teacher for fifteen years, during which time she published three novels; The Evil Seed (1989), Sle...more
More about Joanne Harris...
Chocolat (Chocolat, #1) Five Quarters of the Orange Blackberry Wine The Girl with No Shadow (Chocolat, #2) Gentlemen and Players

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