First-time novelist Poppy Adams has to be fairly happy with the Michiko Kakutani review of The Sister in today's Times. Sure, it's not a rave — Kakutani has problems with the book's ending in particular — but Adams does hit the jackpot when Kakutani compares it to The Secret History. It's a comparison Knopf's clearly been aiming for, right down to the white marble statue on the front cover. However, there has to be some forehead-slapping this morning in the Knopf offices over this highly unquotable lede:
Imagine a mash-up of the campy 1962 chiller “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?,” starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, and Arnold Bennett’s 1908 novel “The Old Wives’ Tale.” Then imagine the result rewritten as a Gothic novel by an amateur lepidopterist — not a Nabokov exactly, but a novelist with a scientific bent — and you have a pretty good idea of Poppy Adams’s first novel, “The Sister.”
Yes, dear reader. Please imagine that.