From Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Alix Ohlin comes an intimate and compelling novel of motherhood, love, a search for belonging, and what it means to be a sister.
All her life, Lark Brossard felt invisible, overshadowed by the people around her: first by her temperamental mother; then by her sister, Robin, a brilliant pianist as wild as the animals she loves; and finally by Lawrence Wheelock, a filmmaker who is both Lark’s employer and her occasional lover. When Wheelock denies her what she longs for most — a child — Lark is forced to re-examine a life marked by unrealized ambitions and thwarted desires. As she takes charge of her destiny, Lark comes to rely on Robin in ways she never could have imagined.
In this meditation on motherhood, sisterhood, desire, and self-knowledge, Alix Ohlin traces the rich and complex path towards fulfillment as an artist and as a human being.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This slow-burning novel tells the tale of two uncommonly gifted sisters, their complicated bond, and their meandering journey to adulthood. Growing up in Montreal with a self-involved mom, Lark and Robin stick together; when Lark moves to the States to study film in college, Robin, a teen piano prodigy, follows. The characters’ intense bond is tested by the connections they forge with other people—and then calamity strikes. Alix Ohlin’s gorgeously understated writing brings her characters to vivid, brilliant life, especially fiercely loyal and socially awkward Lark, who felt like someone we’d love to be friends with.
Ohlin's third novel (after Inside) is the engrossing, intricate tale of half-sisters Lark and Robin Brossard. In their Montreal childhood, Lark, a few years older, stands in for Robin's mother, Marianne, who is mostly absent. Creative Robin is an excellent pianist while Lark is a quiet scholar. Lark wins a scholarship to a college near Boston, and her time there is the only period she isn't tasked with being her sister's keeper until Robin appears at her doorstep during Lark's second year. Lark becomes Robin's guardian and the sisters move to New York: Lark to graduate film school as she hones her documentary filmmaking prowess and Robin to Juilliard for piano. Most of Lark's time is spent working as an assistant for a reclusive director (who becomes her lover) and worrying after Robin, who drops out of school and aimlessly wanders. Later, in her mid-30s, Lark is desperate for a child, but her director-lover already has a grown daughter. When an accident upends Lark's life, their roles reverse and Robin becomes caretaker of her sister. Ohlin smartly chooses a broad scope and expertly weaves Lark and Robin's disparate lives into a singular thread, making for an exceptional depiction of the bond between sisters.