I am an only child. I am also the mother of an only child. A solitary existence in the quiet, unused bedrooms of a decidedly soft, suburban house was a haven I knew well growing up. I was never lonely and deeply resented all insinuations that I suffered a great loss in my singular childhood – that I “missed out”. My feelings have not changed much in my transitions to adulthood, and I take a great joy in watching my little girl explore the furthest reaches of her own inner worlds without the threat of siblings to trip her up in her inevitable rise to some genetically-gifted greatness. However, having married into a family comprised of eight children – six of them of the female persuasion – I find the bond forged between sisters something of the utmost and complex intrigue. It is a relationship I will never have with another human being; it is a point of reference I will never fully understand; and it is the apex of Kentucky author, Nancy Jensen’s debut novel The Sisters.
Already being compared in scope to 2011’s hot read, The Help, Nancy Jensen’s first foray into writing is being widely acclaimed for its haunting portrayal of family secrets and complex emotion set in the backdrop of rural Kentucky. Spanning a multi-generational saga between two sisters, The Sisters begins in the 1920s and follows the bonds of blood and betrayal and the powerful link between women as they explore the fathoms of their own family.
Prior to The Sisters, Jensen, holding an MFA in Writing from Vermont College, has published various essays and stories in the pages of numerous literary journals, including The Louisville Review, Other Voices and Northwest Review. A recipient of an Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, Jensen has also received an Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council. She is currently teaching English at Eastern Kentucky University where she can no doubt roam the halls with a fresh swag, as The Sisters was named one of the Best Fiction Books of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews.
Fresh with this success, Jensen brings her story to Carmichael’s Bookstore this Friday, March 9th at the Frankfort Avenue store. Starting at 7pm, Jensen will read a selection from The Sisters and will be available for signatures and good banter following. The Sisters is currently on sale now at both Carmichael’s store in hardcover for $24.99.
Although I will no doubt garner some surface experience with my husband’s plethora of sisters (and cousins, too; I believe he has 44 or 45 of those at present…), the depths of true sorority will forever remain a mystery to my onesie. Whether you have a smattering of siblings or not, The Sisters probes these waters with a new voice – and one that promises more great things to come.
Carmichael’s Bookstore has two area locations: 1295 Bardstown Road and 2720 Frankfort Avenue. For more information on Nancy Jensen and The Sisters, visit the event page or call the Frankfort Avenue story at (502)896-6950.
Image: Courtesy of Carmichael’s Bookstore website www.carmichaelsbookstore.com