From Edmund White, a bold and sweeping new novel that traces the extraordinary fates of twin sisters, one destined for Parisian nobility and the other for Catholic sainthood.
Yvette and Yvonne Crawford are twin sisters, born on a humble patch of East Texas prairie but bound for far more dramatic and tragic fates. Just as an untold fortune of oil lies beneath their daddy's land, both girls harbor their own secrets and dreams-ones that will carry them far from Texas and from each other. As the decades unfold, Yvonne will ascend the highest ranks of Parisian society as Yvette gives herself to a lifetime of worship and service in the streets of Jericó, Colombia. And yet, even as they remake themselves in their radically different lives, the twins find that the bonds of family and the past are unbreakable.
Spanning the 1950s to the recent past, Edmund White's marvelous novel serves up an immensely pleasurable epic of two Texas women as their lives traverse varied worlds: the swaggering opulence of the Dallas nouveau riche, the airless pretension of the Paris gratin, and the strict piety of a Colombian convent. For nearly half a century, Edmund White's work has revitalized American literature, blithely breaking down boundaries of class and sexuality, and A Saint From Texas is one of his most joyous, gorgeously written, and piercing works to date.
White (The Unpunished Vice) serves up a mesmerizing sensual history of identical twin sisters who leave their booming Texas oil town for Paris and a Colombian convent. As teens in 1950s Ranger, Tex., Yvonne and Yvette Crawford are as different as can be. Yvonne listens to top-10 radio hits, reads women's magazines, and aspires to French aristocracy and a career in fashion; Yvette, with a "crush on God," prefers Bach and performing acts of charity. Both are determined to escape their small-minded, oil-rich abusive father and social climbing stepmother. Most of the retrospective narrative comes from Yvonne's point of view, focusing on her sumptuous experience in Paris, where she travels for her college junior year abroad and instantly immerses herself in haute couture. Surrounded by a plenitude of Givenchy and marrons glaces, Yvonne soon marries Adh aume de Courcy, whom she characterizes as a "spendthrift, unloving, snobbish popinjay." The marriage contract is simple: his title for her money. Meanwhile, Yvette's success as a miracle-working nun in Jeric , Colombia, is revealed in a series of letters sprinkled throughout, which include details of Yvette's amorous friendship with a fellow nun. Yvonne is also romantically interested in women, and White elevates his delicious descriptions of Yvonne's lecherous thoughts about a sorority sister with notes of Yvonne's mature self-awareness. Bombshell revelations abound when the narrative reaches its boiling point, which White handles with aplomb. Equally tender and salacious, White's deeply satisfying character study demonstrates his profound abilities.
Great first half
I was surprised it was written by a man since it talks so intimately about the thoughts if women. The first half was great but the ending seemed hurried.