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Dual Citizens: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
This novel is a jewel, beautifully told, with complex and original characters. Two sisters, the children of a single and spectacularly indifferent mother, essentially raise themselves. Told by the older sibling, we follow their relationship — at first intimate and then more complicated — as they go off to college and adulthood. You’ll fall in love with both of them and the language of their story. A true delight.— From Harry's Recommendations
A Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist
Raised in Montreal by their disinterested single mother, half-sisters Lark and Robin form a fierce team in spite of their differences. When Lark flees to America to attend college, her sister soon joins her. But even as Lark discovers a calling working in documentary film, she struggles with self-doubt, and Robin chafes against the demands of studying piano at Juilliard. Their bond strains under increasing pressure until it breaks.
Years later, Lark’s life is in tatters and Robin’s is wilder than ever. As Lark tries to take charge of her destiny, she discovers that despite the difficulties of their relationship, there is only one person she can truly rely on: her sister.
A gripping, unforgettable novel about art, ambition, sisterhood, motherhood, and self-knowledge, Dual Citizens captures the unique language of sisters and makes visible the imperceptible strings that bind us to the ones we love for good.
About the Author
Alix Ohlin is the author of five books, most recently the novel Dual Citizens, which was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, The Best American Short Stories, and many other places. She lives in Vancouver, where she chairs the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia.
“Revelatory. . . . Evocative . . . with equal amounts grace and wit.” —Vogue
“A precise, subtle, sad and graceful story about how we care for each other.” —Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror
“Touching. . . . Dual Citizens has a lot in common with Zadie Smith’s Swing Time and Claire Messud’s The Burning Girl.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Ohlin’s prose and insight are luminous.” —Shelf Awareness
“Alix Ohlin’s gorgeous prose and deeply drawn characters pull readers easily through the decades, creating an unforgettable portrait of two women who find that the bonds of sisterhood transcend even the most conflicting definitions of happiness.” —San Francisco Book Review
“[An] engrossing, intricate tale. . . . Ohlin smartly chooses a broad scope and expertly weaves disparate lives into a singular thread, making for an exceptional depiction of the bond between sisters.” —Publishers Weekly
“A lovely, deeply moving work. A lyrical account of the lives of two women, their failures and hopes, and ultimately their quiet redemption.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Luminous. . . . Ohlin’s touching, beautifully crafted story traces the unbreakable bond holding the sisters together, even when miles apart, through many changes.” —Booklist
“Compelling and subtle. . . . Spare and thoughtful. . . . A gentle and moving exploration of what bonds us to those we love.” —Sewanee Review
“[A] compulsive read. . . . Ohlin asks questions about sisterhood, motherhood and self-knowledge in this novel about how we care for one another.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Alix Ohlin’s novel, true to its title, quietly refutes monolithic tenets that regard identity as something fixed and singular. . . . Dual Citizens is a long-term sororal love story and affecting double-portrait of female self-actualization untethered from established paradigms of ambition.” —Jury Citation, 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize
“With supreme confidence, Ohlin’s quicksilver-prose and brilliant characterization at once seize and pull the reader into the wide-ranging and complex world of half-sisters Robin and Lark as they struggle with questions of identity, the slow burn of mental illness, and the need to leave your mark on the world. . . . A compulsively readable novel about family, sisterhood, and those uncontrollable forces that drive and haunt us.” —Jury Citation, 2019 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize