‘Sisters’ Builds a Gothic Plot to an Artful and Shocking Climax: the New York Times raves about Daisy Johnson’s new novel

Daisy Johnson’s new novel, “Sisters,” starts with a journey that ends at a house in the middle of nowhere. Sheela, a children’s writer, has driven from Oxford to the eastern edge of the North York Moors with her teenage daughters, September and July, our narrator for much of the book, in the back seat. It’s spring and the sun is shining; the sea is just over the fields. But there is no sense of anticipation or relief as the car bumps down the track and pulls up outside the house, known locally as the Settle House. The party has not traveled hopefully, and this is not a holiday: “Mum said, getting into the car, Let’s make it before night. And then nothing else for a long time. We imagine what she might say: This is your fault, or, We would never have had to leave if you hadn’t done what you did. And what she means, of course, is if we hadn’t been born. If we hadn’t been born at all.”

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