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Books  >>  Biography

Maria Flook

My Sister Life

Maria Flook My Sister Life
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When Maria Flook's fourteen-year-old sister Karen disappeared from their suburban home, the author was changed forever. My Sister Life maps the story of two castaways from American suburbia who, while apart from each other, live mysteriously parallel lives.

With unrelenting realism and beguiling wit, Flook gives us an intimate account of her sister's life as a child prostitute, and of their coming of age in the 1960s--that surreal and wrenching moment of baby-boomer disenfranchisement, when the sexual revolution collided with the domestic fallout from the Vietnam War. From the ocean liners and Paris vacations of their refined upbringing to the gritty peepshows and adult theaters where they find jobs, the girls flee from a beautiful and tormented matriarch with secrets of her own.

Her missing sister becomes Flook's secret heroine--the sole example to follow in her journey into womanhood. The sisters live in trailer parks. They are faced with sexual assault, car thefts, and petty crimes with unpredictable men. Escaping from an abusive Vietnam vet, Karen takes her toddler to join her sister, who is herself raising a baby on her own; it is the first time they are under the same roof since their childhood. Their unorthodox reunion allows the sisters to forge a life-saving bond.

My Sister Life moves beyond biography or memoir to give us an astonishing vision of an American family--an authentic testimony to the defiant, undaunted faith between two sisters who connect after years apart.


From the Hardcover edition.

"My Sister Life is a box of dark treasures. It is a beautifully wrought story of the way things go wrong and the way people survive and exploit their detours of fate. Maria Flook writes with breathtaking artistry and precision. This memoir holds you in troubling and unpredictable ways. It is a mesmerizing work of nonfiction."
--James Ellroy, author of LA Confidential

"This disturbing book by one of the most powerful American writers at work today takes us through the ricocheting doppelgangering lives of two sisters and their eerie shipwreck shadows. I wished very much this book were fiction, but it is not."
--Annie Proulx

"A strange, beautiful and startling original work, which will alter and expand its genre: a memoir with all the virtues of the real and the imagined. In edgy inventive prose, Maria Flook writes in both her own voice and in that of her sister who disappeared into the world of prostitution at fourteen, showing the connections which entwine them through their separate experiences--the way in which her sister's life is her own. As in Family Night and Open Water, Flook reaches down into dark waters and emerges with an astonishing trove, glinting with treasure."
--Melanie Thernstrom


From the Hardcover edition.


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