10 Dec / Sisters by Daisy Johnson [in Booklist]
Born 10 months apart, September and July are the kind of sisters who don’t require words to communicate. Older September is clearly in charge, having trained July over years of playing “September says.” Something terrible has happened at their Oxford school, causing their mother, Sheela, to relocate the trio to the remote Settle House, a family cottage in the North York Moors.
While the girls wander, testing limits as teens, Sheela – a children’s book creator – stays locked away working. Moving fluently in time and space, between memories and reality, this work by Daisy Johnson – the youngest to be Booker Prize shortlisted for her debut novel, Everything Under – stupendously delivers a psychologically manipulative wallop.
As her aural ciphers, newbies Daisy Edgar-Jones and Anna Koval don’t even have a combined half-dozen audiobook credits to their names as yet, but demand for their intimate performances will surely multiply. Edgar-Jones marvels as July with a hint of raspy, not quite choking control. Koval has an ever-so-slightly richer tone, as if she’s matured at least a bit into motherhood, albeit she’s also more often detached and unknowing – or is she?
Though brief, with such aural enhancement, these Sisters will continue to taunt and haunt long after its ‘I-can’t-believe-that-happened’ shocking, satisfying ending.