Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New in Paperback: The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen

Rebecca Rasmussen’s debut novel earlier this year was one of those quiet arrivals that seems to build on its own steam. A scant seven months later, Rasmussen is poised on the brink of something huge and the gorgeous new paperback -- out today from Broadway Books -- reminds readers that the book is a Ladies’ Home Journal Book Club pick. It’s also been selected for the Target Emerging Authors Program. That kind of firepower will ensure that The Bird Sisters -- and Rasmussen -- get a lot of attention. And that’s a good thing: it’s a terrific book.

What starts out as a fairly run-of-the-mill coming of age story rapidly develops into something quirkily and charmingly other.

Though the book opens in the present, where we meet Twiss and Milly in their twilight years, most of the book occurs in 1947 during a summer that will alter their lives forever. Though many forces are in motion, their cousin Bett, newly arrived from Minnesota, seems at the very center of things that will impact on their previously idyllic-seeming lives.

The story is sharply character-driven, almost in the extreme. But what really makes it work is Rasmussen’s delicate, careful prose. The Bird Sisters is a beautiful book. ◊

Sienna Powers is a transplanted Calgarian who lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. She is a writer and conceptual artist.

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