Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.39: Siblings in Books and Priya Parmar’s Vanessa and Her Sister

We’re back again to talk about books with siblings! We find ourselves mystifed by the relative paucity of books about adult siblings, compared to the rich bounty in children’s, middle grade, and YA novels. And then we review Priya Parmar’s Vanessa and Her Sister, about Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly here to take with you on the go.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Get at me on Twitter, email the podcast, and friend me (Gin Jenny) and Whiskey Jenny on Goodreads. Or if you wish, you can find us on iTunes (and if you enjoy the podcast, give us a good rating! We appreciate it very very much).

Credits
Producer: Captain Hammer
Photo credit: The Illustrious Annalee
Song is by Jeff MacDougall.

  • Yay! I attempted to read a bio of Woolf last year but it had too many things I was expected to know already so I didn’t get very far in. I’m hoping THIS book might be a little more lively and accessible? Guess I will listen (later) and find out.

  • Nat

    Re: books with adult siblings, what about Anne Tyler’s Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant? It’s technically about their family in general, but understanding the siblings relationships and how they have changed (or not) through the years is probably the biggest plot development. They fight all the time, though, so it’s not a terribly pleasant book. Oh, and Cranford! Also, Elizabeth Gaskell had a thing for pairs of single sisters in which the older one keeps trying to get the younger a husband even after they’re both older than 25. Crazy older sisters, I know.

  • I think one of my favorite parts in this episode is when Gin Jenny wonders if she missed on a cultural moment by not reading Flowers in the Attic, and Whiskey Jenny says “I don’t think you did!”. [Simon’s recent blog post has me taking a brave stab at identifying who is who in the podcast]. I also haven’t read Flowers in the Attic. A number of girls in my seventh grade class were reading it, but they didn’t offer to lend it to me, because I was a “good girl” and they didn’t want to be responsible for corrupting me or something.

    I think classic novels incorporate more sibling relationships than more modern books. I can think of more recent books where the sibling relationships is important, but rarely because the siblings are working together as a team. It’s things like twins separated in Cecelia Holland’s historical novel The Soul Thief, or the estranged sisters in Atonement. Or the sibling relationship is not the central relationship of interest to the book. I liked the sister in Gone Girl but no one is talking about that relationship – except as an afterthought – because it’s a book foremost about a marriage.