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A Sister in My House

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  605 ratings  ·  108 reviews
From the acclaimed author of Astrid & Veronika, a lyrical novel of two sisters bound together by a tragic moment from their past.

Maria and Emma have not seen each other since their mother's funeral two years ago. But now, Emma has come to visit Maria at her house in Spain, an unsettling intrusion on Maria's quiet and solitary life. Over six days in the seaside town,
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 17th 2018 by Penguin Books (first published 2016)
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3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  605 ratings  ·  108 reviews


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Tammy
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a deceptively quiet book. Not much happens in terms of action. One sister stays with the other sister at her rented home in Spain. They walk and tentatively begin to talk. These sisters are not close nor have they ever been but their shared childhood is something worth talking about however reluctant they might be. I couldn’t stop thinking about Virginia Woolf although there isn’t anything obviously Woolf-like about this book. There is a lot to consider in this short novel and I find mys ...more
Cathrine
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Now this was a disturbing mirror to look into.

I'm a faithful bibliofile. If I fall in love with a novel a writer will have to really ... a writer will rarely live up to that experience again or rather have me relive that experience again.

For example I met Ali Smith through 'Hotel World' (HW). I adore everything she has written since but nothing 'as much' as HW. Saramago introduced himself to me through 'Blindness' and though I enjoyed his other works I loved nothing as blindly as my first Saram
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Ulla
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-swedish
I don't know what happens but when I start reading a Linda Olsson novel, I become completely fascinated. She writes beautifully, whether I read the book in English or Swedish. She writes about quite ordinary people, and whatever happens, happens inside the characters' minds and hearts, and between them.
In "The Blackbird Sings at Dusk" there are only three main characters, in "Astrid and Veronica" only two. In "En systers i mitt hus" it's mostly just the two sisters. And somehow that's quite enou
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Sheryl
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
My feeling about this book are ambivalent at best. It's a relatively short book, so that made it a DNF, I kept thinking once I got into the story I would like it, but we didn't seem to mesh.
It's about two half-sisters who share a somewhat distance mother. The older sister, Maria who lives in a coastal town in Spain; extends an invitation to her youngest sister, Emma to come visit her. Maria is leaving to head back home after the funeral of their mother never expecting Emma to take her up on it.
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Julie
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
devoured this in one afternoon. A quiet story of two sisters who have had little to no relationship. They discover, upon spending a week together, that miscommunication and misunderstanding have plagued them both.
Sophia Melin
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read, as always with this author.
Beautifully written, bittersweet story surrounded by a magic Spanish landscape...
Pallavi
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: firsttoread
****3.5****

Maria and Emma who have never been close even though they are half sisters and lived several years of their childhood together in a same house. When Maria, on a whim, invites Emma to her home in Spain, at their mother's funeral, little did she know how this invitation will bring a huge change in both their lives later.

Emma, after two years gets in contact with Maria and decides to visit. Maria is dreading her sister's visit as she was never close to Emma and does know almost nothing a
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Almira
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
For a "short" (207 pages) book, this book packed a powerful message of love and redemption.

Half sisters, Emma and Maria, have been "re-united" two years after the funeral of their mother.
Both sisters have such different perspectives of how their mother loved the other, and what occurred to Maria's twin, Amanda.

Descriptions of the area, brought back memories of living on the Mediterranean Sea, and the aromas of the various foods described.

Writing was excellent.
Amanda
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclubs
An interesting read that I don't think I would have picked up on my own. I'm going to get my pet peeve about this one out of the way immediately and I shall not dwell on it anymore: no contractions. When I see entire soliloquies without contractions, my brain dies a little. It feels entirely too formal. Of course there were some, but the monologues were overwhelmingly formal. Also, "Good morning, how did you sleep?" is not a question that invites monologues, but in this book, that's what you get ...more
Kat Pegfred
May 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: giveaway-wins
Overall, I did not like this book.

I like the theme of opening up, saying things that need to be said, clearing the air, and healing. However, the theme was a bit overkilled in this particular story.

I despised the two main characters - Maria seemed rather lacking in empathy for others and Emma was a whiny "victim." I tried, but couldn't get past my feelings of dislike for the characters. Perhaps this is a compliment to Ms. Olsson - that she created two incredibly realistic characters (there are
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Paltia
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Living alone one grows into solitude. Having this threatened by the arrival of a guest, sister or not, is more than enough for Maria to regret having invited her. This invitation, made at a time of vulnerability, at their mother’s funeral is not answered for two years. When Emma arrives the story commences. Ms. Olsson gently introduces the other players in the drama. Emma has two children, and a husband. Maria has Maya. They both have Amanda. Their visit allows them the time and space to explore ...more
Anne Paulson
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oooo I loved this book! Vivid, emotional, full of hope. Warmth. Grateful for the arc from the indie bookstore where I am employed.
Dorie
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
“I don’t think we are responsible for the love that is offered to us. Grateful, possibly. But not responsible. Love is not fair. You don’t get in proportion to what you give. And you can never make someone love you.”

I liked this book and it was a pleasant read, but I didn't love it. The author has a beautiful writing style, but I believe there were issues in the translation. Sometimes the dialogue just didn't sound natural, or the narrative didn't quite flow right. However, that didn't stop me
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Karen Raskin
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My kind of book. Beautifully written and deeply thoughtful. The two sisters gradually come to an understanding of their relationship and themselves.
Pam
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved "Astrid and Veronica" so I was excited to see a new book by Linda Olsson. This lovely little gem of a novel about sisters did not disappoint. This author writes beautifully about relationships and gives you much to mull over and think about. It was also a treat to have a short novel after the long books I have been reading.
Tracy
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Maureen Hart
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thought provoking read

A beautifully written book with some twists and self examination into ones own perspective of parents and sisters. Didn’t want it to end.
Marcia
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Once there were three sisters, and now there are two. Two sisters, Emma and Maria, who were never close, but both loved and needed the third sister. Their lives have been very different, as is how they individually interpreted the third sister's loss. Emma comes to visit Maria, which Maria dreads. What will this visit entail? Will it solve anything? The book is well-written but a bit dark and sad.
Stephany
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
***I won this through a goodreads giveaway***

This is a tiny little book with a lot of heavy material. This book was an interesting look at family dynamics and how family members are able to misread one another when they aren’t able to communicate. Both sisters have lived very different lives with different perspectives and it was interesting to read about them making peace with one another and learning to be vulnerable. Mostly, I enjoyed the beautifully-crafted descriptions of Spain.
Sara Smith
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: early-reads
I received a free ARC of this book through Random First to Read program.

This story is a bit different from what I imagined it might be. It is a very quiet, but beautiful and haunting story about how the past can shape our entire lives. Two middle age sisters both with their battle scars, come together for a few days and bring the shadows of their early, painful lives into the light. This book gives me hope that things can change.
Laura
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Penguin First to Read in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A Sister in My House on the surface is the story of three sisters. But layer after layer it is actually a study of women’s emotions toward each other and those they encounter. One lost by death, the other two making their way through life in the wake of this event. Separated in age and experiences, the remaining two sisters
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Suzanne
Middle-aged sisters spend time together after years of separation when one attempts a rekindling of a relationship. The writing is spare, as befitting one of the sisters who is emotionally shut down and the narrator of the tale. I thought I would enjoy this story more than I did; it was just too remote for me. I like my sister stories with a bit more color and emotion. I received my copy from Penguin’s First to Read Program.
Marcy
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Compelling and poignant story, and the setting is beautifully painted. I'm a big admirer of this author's works.
Marlene
Mar 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I give this book a 3.5.
Alexandra
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(Other) Reading notes in three FB posts

March 26 2018 ·
I look forward to reading this new novel.


April 27

There are writers whose writing is so crafted that you cannot see it - as subtle, as fine as gossamer. All you can see is the story, the characters, the troubling questions they ask (the damned bastards, why can't they leave us alone, in our happy bubble of positivity and unconscious bliss?). And then there are some others whose work reminds you quite often that you are reading a text. Some of
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Lesley
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
Maria has found sanctuary in a rented house, overlooking a small Spanish village by the sea. She is coming to terms with losing the love of her life. But her solitude and places that have become special to her are about to be encroached on by the arrival of her younger sister, Emma.
It is two years since Maria issued the invitation to her younger sister following their mother’s funeral and she is unsure if it was such a good idea. “Now, as I tried to think back and understand why I had blurted ou
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Leesteffy
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Linda Olsson is one of my favorite writers. Her books are quiet, not full of action and adventure, but have deep emotional resonance. After starting one of her books, i'm always left probing my own life, my past, my response to events in my life, and in some way she helps me make sense of myself. This novel had me thinking (and discussing with my 25 year old niece who is trying to find her way in the world and with herself) the dynamics between siblings when there simply was not enough love shar ...more
Kathi Plascak-Cross
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a deep look into the strained relationship of two sisters as well as feelings of their Mother. I absorbed every word of this book because of the similarities in my past relationships other than the loss of a sibling. This book explores thoughts and actions and also the selfishness of one’s feelings. This is a thought provoking read even as there is not a lot of action. Reading this book allows that every person has feelings and reasons for actions that are very different than anothe ...more
Wanda
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Olsson’s writing is so pure. Her words flowed gently and I felt at peace reading “A Sister in My House,” knowing that only good would come from the story of Maria and Emma.

Maria and Emma are estranged sisters who reluctantly reunite. Awkwardly they begin to walk and talk, each revealing their vision of their childhood. I was struck by how open and honest the sisters were to each other, even though they had never had a relationship with each other.

“A Sister in My House” is a fine example of how
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Anne
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was very torn between 3 and 4 stars, but decided to go with 4 because of the lyrical way the book was composed. It was really a beautifully constructed little volume, with many parts that seemed to be written in just the most perfect way. All the more impressive since the work is a translation. But the ending just sort of trailed off. I'm not sure what I wanted or needed from the ending, but it just seemed a little lacking.
A quick read, though, and one I'm happy to have enjoyed.
I especially
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Linda Olsson lives in Auckland, New Zealand. Her debut 'Let me sing you gentle songs' was published in September 2005 in New Zealand. Since then the rights for it have been sold to many countries. It has now been published in the US and Canada under the title 'Astrid and Veronika' as well as in her country of birth, Sweden (Låt mig sjunga dig milda sånger).