Book club,  Reviews

Sister Sister { Book review}

I have been in need for a novel, in need of suspension of reality. My answer came in the form of this book Sister Sister. It suspended my reality so much, that as I write I am still floating back to reality, I’m using the keys of this laptop as my anchor. I struggled to sleep last night when I finally finished the book. It has left a lingering spell binding feeling with me. Going in I thought I have an idea of what the book could be about as I am aware of the superstition around twins. I know there are rules about swimming in  the ocean and how if one dies the one surviving needs to ‘buried’ in the whole before the coffin’. And yet nothing could have prepared me for this book.


That night, I slip into her mind and dream her dreams. I see myself , Thuli, strange and disconnected and the wrong way round, like I’m stuck in a mirror. We walk across the patch of veld to Saviour’s  Pit Stop, our arms crooked at the elbows and linked together. The sky is silver-blue and the propeller on the Legend winks as it turns slow in the breeze, fanning our cheeks. The colour of her dreaming is sharp, as if our lives then were so much brighter….

In childhood Thuli and Sindi are inseparable, pinkie-linked by a magic no one else can understand. Then a strange man comes knocking, bringing news from a hometown they didn’t know existed. His arrival sets into motion events that will lead them into the darkest places, on a search for salvation where the all-too familiar and the extraordinary merge, blurring the boundaries between dream and reality.

Picture of author of sister sister Rachel Zadok
Rachel Zadok
About the Author

Rachel Zadok was born in Tel Aviv in in 1972 and raised in Johannesburg. In 2005, she was runner-up in the Richard & Judy How To Get Published competition and her first Novel Gem Squash Tokolshe was published later that year. Gem Squash Tokolshe was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and longlisted for the IMPAC award. In 2011 she launched Short Story Day Africa, an initiative to highlight African short fiction. Her writing has appeared in the Observer, the Jewish Chronicle, the Independent and African Violet and other stories, the 2012 Caine Prize Anthology.

“Joe Saviour once told me that every life has a legend. Before the soul comes down to earth, God seals a story inside it. To know your purpose, you need to unravel the mystery of that legend.”

My thoughts

From the first paragraph I found the writing poetic and her words very descriptive. It is distinctly South African, I laughed a bit when I read House in Vereeniging as it has been a minute. However the book didn’t really grab me form the onset.  If I am honest there were times I was so lost that I wanted to put the book aside. Nonetheless I persevered and I was abundantly rewarded. Sister Sister is a slow burner and does not offer instant gratification. It doesn’t have a happy ending it loops you from dream state, after life to reality and leaves you floating. A definite must read,  a book I will read again one day soon.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: