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3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  443 ratings  ·  45 reviews
A provocative novel of jealousy and betrayal between two rival sisters

The classic novel from New York Times bestselling author Josephine Hart—now available as an ebook

Ruth calls herself a malevolent creature, ruled since childhood by hatred and envy for her adopted sister, Elizabeth. She grew up in Elizabeth’s shadow, always falling short of her goodness and generosity, co
ebook, 142 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by Open Road Media (first published 1992)
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‘Sin.’ An unfortunate title for a novel, don’t you think? It brings to mind sad little paperback romance novels or soft porn fictions marketed to women looking for a little titillation (not that I would know anything about that). Josephine Hart’s ‘Sin’ is not pornographic nor is it romantic; it is ruthless. It’s about all of the horrible things that we do to each other out of envy or boredom or desire. “Nothing prepared me for my hungers, which, if not assuaged, would surely devour me.”

This boo
Uno dei libri più sciatti, pretenziosi e inutili che abbia mai letto.
Probabilmente pubblicato sulla scia del successo di "Il danno", ne riprende in modo addirittura patetico gli spunti più tragici amplificandone i difetti, con esiti artificiosi e sgradevoli.
La prosa, più che scarna ed essenziale, è banalmente emaciata.
Ha un pregio: è breve e finisce presto.
Ian Kirkpatrick
I decided to re-read one of my favourite novels, Josephine Hart’s “Sin”. It is an astonishing achievement and is one of the many novels that I really wish I had written. It is short enough to be devoured in a single sitting but like a wonderful meal leaves you hungry for more.

Hart’s writing is a revelation with her short sentences and tautly controlled plot. The story is magnetic and ruthless and will hold you in its thrall until its tragic conclusion.

In Ruth Garton and Charles Harding she depic
Dawnelle Wilkie
Josephine Hart's "Sin" was the most inconsistent and frustrating book I've read in a long time. Brilliantly spare and concise, Hart's prose was (at times) surprisingly good. She drops these perfect little phrases throughout the text but she won't let them lie! For lack of a better term, she doesn't "leave the power with the punch." I found myself wanting to smack her and yell "WHY?! Why did you keep going? Leave it alone. If was perfect the way it was." The text becomes an aggravating pattern of ...more
N. Jr.
This author is just not for me. After being disappointed with Damage I thought I'd give her a second chance. If you see my review of the first book, you might wonder how similar this review is to my review for Damage. That's because Sin just seems to be a repackaging of that first novel, with a few gender changes and plot re-arrangements. Stories of deep, dark emotion, without the depth required for satisfying character development. Adulterous affairs that lack passion, sex without intimacy, and ...more
I must say I'm glad I didn't have to read any of this in public. With SIN printed across the front, a plain black background and a rather yonic illustration of a calla lily, there is no way anyone (these days) would have expected it to be anything other than erotica. It isn't, though. This novel is actually the story of Ruth, obsessed by lifelong jealousy of the woman raised as her sister (adopted - actually her orphaned cousin). Like the narrator herself, Sin is terse, cold and never quite give ...more
Nicholas Luckett
A whirlwind read. I picked this up at 10am and in between a little work, I finished this by 4pm. The tone is captivating and makes you 'feel' the book more than anything else.

There is no great narrative to this story. Honestly, there is almost no story at all. Instead it's a easy shell for the exploration of a woman who was born, as she believed, in second place. At first I wanted to dismissed it as a fairly shallow (although haunting) study of a trouble woman, but that shallowness, may in fact
Let me just begin by saying that Josephine Hart is phenomenal at minimalist writing. It's a quick read, a short novel, with a sparse amount of words, but boy, do those words pack a punch. Her words have enormous power and Ruth is an unforgettable protagonist. In reading this novel, the reader becomes Ruth--a shadowy, peripheral figure who is never completely whole as long as she is gripped in her obsession with Elizabeth. This novel held me from the first sentence and I have never been able to f ...more
Josephine Hart, like Pat Barker, writes about dark emotions and drives that shape the lives of not only her protagonists (if one can find a true protagonist in her novels) but their families. I am in awe of her talent. Minimalist prose (she makes Hemingway look like Dickens...) is the perfect frame for these explorations of the darkest of all emotions and of human frailty---and cruelty. You cringe as the plot develops yet you can't look away. This book and her other novel, Damage are two of my f ...more
Hart creates some of the most depraved, evil characters & yet you are completely invested in their journeys. Obsessed.
Starts off interesting and odd... then just gets odd... then sort of goes foolish.
Oct 27, 2009 Jessica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: Dean
Shelves: fiction
I've read this book twice, 4 years apart - it's no less shocking on the second read. I find it very hard to review because, to me, it falls outside the usual expectations for "novel."

Although a short book, it contains so much psychopathology that you are almost literally on the edge of your seat trying to flip pages fast enough to see what's going to happen next.

Even though the plot is driven forward at a fast pace, it is really the character study that is compelling. It's what I imagine to be
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jocelyn Jazmen
I bought this book because I rather liked Damage (see my review of that) although I didn't enjoy this one as much. Maybe I expected something more deep and dark because of the title. Like Damage the prose is pity yet concnetrated, and also perhaps because of that, once again the life-changing event is understated.

I think that's enough Josephine Hart for me.
Dorothy Shaw
This is the second book I've read by this author. She has a very different style. It's almost dry, yet not boring at all. Her stories do not have happy endings, which I think is awesome, yet they are love stories just the same.

This book gives a glimpse into the truly disturbed mind of a young woman. The resentment she feels towards her "adopted" sister is profound and has been growing within her since she was a child.

She will stop at nothing in her efforts to destroy her sister. Her thinking i
Nóri Somogyi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wow, this was a thought provoking novel. What happens when an angry, malicious child grows into an even more vindictive, manipulating adult? The story is told by the woman who because of jealousy and rage that starts when her cousin is orphaned and comes to live with her family. Her parents adoption of her as their own appears to be the catalyst. She views this as betrayal and seeks to avenge herself by ruining the cousin's life. There is a point well into the novel when it seems that there is f ...more
Two women raised as sisters, but the true born one, Ruth, is obsessed and consumed with jealousy for the older of the two girls, Elizabeth, a cousin who was orphaned and taken in by her mother's sister. Elizabeth is well loved, sweet, kind, and always seems to come out on top.

Ruth wants everything her "sister" has, and makes sure she gets it or takes it, she wants Elizabeth to suffer. She spends most of her life in this pursuit, seemingly unbeknownst to Elizabeth and in the end it nearly destro
Francesca Crozier
I loved the book. The obsessive hatred and rivalry between sisters. Sin is the story of a woman's obsession and jealousy of her sister and the love that is perceived to be lavished by the woman's parents onto the sister.
Nenia *Genghis Khan soaked in sherbet*
you can read more reviews at my blog, the armchair librarian.

ruth has built her whole life on the foundations of revenge.

elizabeth's parents were killed in a car crash when she was scarcely older than a baby. she was sent to live with her aunt and uncle, who loved her because she made herself easy to love, who gave her everything because she asked for nothing. then, a few years later, they had a child of their own: ruth.

from a young age, ruth resents her older not-a-sister for "stealing her birt
Rachael Malfer
It was more engaging than I initially expected. The characters were realistic, if but a little aloof, though this was probably intentional.
Christian Singer
Josephine Hart's Sin reminds me of the story of Jacob and Esau. Ruth's assessment of her adopted sister Elizabeth is that of an ideal child, even a favored child. Ruth is so obsessed with her envy of Elizabeth that she doesn't seem to live a life of her own. Throughout the story I wonder if she will ever be free.

Literary fiction has a much different "flavor" than traditional fiction. Does all literary fiction require thinking and inference?

This is a fast-paced read, a good one for those who like
Good. Sibling jealousy - sisters
It was a ok book,like a one time read for me. I really like books that have a little more thrill in them this was ok. I liked how the chapters were layed out. ok u know what I didn't like it !!!!

Best line in the whole book

" no one else see the particular way man and woman become one. Man thrusting blindly upwards, through the same passage that once he blindly travelled down into the world. Believing that he brings pleasure where once there had been pain. But still it leads to defeat."
Sin is a subtle but captivating story about being obsessed with a person that you love to hate and hate to love. Josephine Hart used a quiet but dark style to take her readers through watching Ruth struggle with her one sided competition that had spun from jealousy. She had a need to destroy Elizabeth and does not realize until it is two late that their lives are too intertwined to destroy one without the other.
This is my comfort book. I take it every time I travel. I can't tell you how many times I re-read this book. For such a quick read ( the time it takes to travel from NYC-London) it evokes so many different emotions. I come away with a different point of view every time. All of Ms. Harts have that same engaging way. This is by far my favorite. If you enjoyed the movie Match Point, you'll love this book.
I found Sin by Josephine Hart to be very plot based and cliche, with a horrible overuse of dark and golden light as symbols. The writing style is so minimalist that the conveyance of Ruth as a sinner was simply lost in translation. As it is in her POV, she constantly tells the reader that she is the image of evil but it is never really shown. One of the worst books I have ever read.
Lucy Megronigle
Not my favorite book, but it was readable. Ruth, the main character, reminded me of the evil woman in East of Eden. But East of Eden was a lot better. Ruth's relationship with her cousin Elizabeth was very dark. I really expected her to try and kill her, but instead she seems satisfied to steal her husband. I would not seek out other books by this author.
Jill Rossiter
I like the way Hart creates an ominous tone--you know something awful is going to happen, but it's difficult to predict where she will go with the plot. Her characters are deeply flawed, and those flaws lead to their eventual demise in one way or another, it seems. Not deep reading, but definitely engaging in a warped and twisted sort of way (like Damage).
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Josephine Hart was born and educated in Ireland. She was a director of Haymarket Publishing, in London, before going on to produce a number of West End plays, including The House of Bernarda Alba by Frederico Garcia Lorea, The Vortex by Noel Coward, and The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch. She was married to Maurice Saatchi and had two sons. She was the author of Damage. Hart died, aged 69, of ovaria ...more
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