We gave it an A
Incest-survivor stories have become mind-numbingly common in the ’90s, their harrowing truths obscured by pop-psych jargon and daytime-talk-show hysterics. Nina Vida’s Between Sisters is a lyrical novel of two sisters shattered by violent abuse that rises above the subject matter and its cultural clichés. Eighteen-year-old Lela Benoit narrates the first part of the story, in a naive voice that contrasts powerfully with the family tragedy she observes. Her older sister Joline’s escape from their sexually abusive father incites him to murder their mother, then to kidnap and rape Lela. In the less dramatic second section, set 21 years later, Lela (raised by a wealthy California adoptive family) confronts suppressed memories of her past. Her journey back to Joline is an unexpectedly life-affirming story about choosing love over hate and hope over despair.