Little Sister

Little Sister

eBook - 2017
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WW Norton

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
One of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2017

"[A] supernatural domestic thriller and a crackling tour de force." —The New York Times

Thunderstorms are rolling across the summer sky. Every time one breaks, Rose Bowan loses consciousness and has vivid, realistic dreams about being in another woman's body. 

Is Rose merely dreaming? Or is she, in fact, inhabiting a stranger? Disturbed yet entranced, she sets out to discover what is happening to her, leaving the cocoon of her family’s small repertory cinema for the larger, upended world of someone wildly different from herself. Meanwhile her mother is in the early stages of dementia, and has begun to speak for the first time in decades about another haunting presence: Rose’s younger sister. 

In Little Sister, one woman fights to help someone she has never met, and to come to terms with a death for which she always felt responsible. With the elegant prose and groundbreaking imagination that have earned her international acclaim, Barbara Gowdy explores the astonishing power of empathy, the question of where we end and others begin, and the fierce bonds of motherhood and sisterhood.  

Publisher: Portland, OR :, Tin House Books,, [2017]
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781941040614
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks


From the critics

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ontherideau Dec 13, 2017

This is an unusual story idea, in a category of few- not sci fi and yet almost. The ending left me a bit unsatisfied. If you like this one I would suggest The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.

Jul 17, 2017

Featured in Canadian Living July 2017 "True North Page Turners"

Jun 22, 2017

Read the whole review

The greatest tragedy of Little Sister isn’t the unfortunate circumstances of a character’s death, the strange way the protagonist Rose Bowan finds herself living the life of Harriet Smith, a big-time book editor across town, the failing memory of Rose’s dementia-ridden mother, Fiona, or even the unsatisfying sex of her mundane relationship with her meteorologist and lazy-eyed boyfriend, Victor. No, the greatest tragedy of Barbara Gowdy’s bizarre and exciting novel is the god-awful design on its cover.

Normally, I say you can totally judge a book by its cover, but please, not this one. This one is so much deeper, more intriguing, and well-written than the creepy, badly photoshopped cover would have you believe.

Little Sister is something that not a lot of Canadian fiction aspires to be: it’s weird. And I love weird.

Jun 12, 2017

This one didn't work for me. I'm very interested in the concept of people finding themselves in another's body/life, but the premise has been done before and much more deftly. For me this one didn't work, and I didn't feel enough interest in any of the characters to finish it. If the idea of sixth-sense phenomena and astral travel interests you, there's a novel called 'The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells' that covers the possibilities in an extremely well-thought-out manner with an arresting plot and group of characters. In fact, I liked the book so much I went out and bought it after reading and I've re-read it a couple of times since.

Jun 10, 2017

Somewhat unlikable characters and the phenomena of slipping into the other woman's body isn't really explained in a satisfying way. But it did keep me turning pages to try to find out what would happen next.


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Jul 17, 2017

Rose had a rush of nausea, and then a quick, exquisite sensation of her skin tightening and cooling and her flesh clinging to a vibrant bony web.


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