Before she wrote The Time Traveler's Wife, now a bestseller all around the world, Audrey Niffenegger's books were beautiful, handmade, exquisitely illustrated tales, published in editions as small as ten copies. They took many years to create, were bought by collectors and have been seen by few people. At last, as part of its acclaimed and very successful list of graphic books, Cape is delighted to publish The Three Incestuous Sisters in a beautiful edition at an affordable price. It is the story of three sisters, Clothilde, Ophile and Bettine, who live together in a lonely house by the sea. All three are rivals for the love of Paris, the lighthouse-keeper's son. When Paris chooses Bettine, and she becomes pregnant, the other sisters are jealous. Eventually, after the baby is born, they cause Bettine's death. Paris runs away to sea and Ophile, overwhelmed by remorse, throws herself from the lighthouse. Clothilde lives on in the house, sad and alone. Then one day a circus comes to town. In it is an amazing flying boy. She recognizes him as Bettine's child...
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(325mm x 245mm x 22mm)
Jonathan Cape Ltd
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
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Book Review: Three Incestuous Sisters by Audrey Niffenegger - Reviewed by CloggieA (17 Mar 2015)
The Three Incestuous Sisters is the second “visual novel” by American author and artist, Audrey Niffenegger. The original books were hand printed: a limited edition of ten copies. The drawings are aquatints, featuring three sisters, Clothilde, Ophile and Bettine, who live by the sea. They all look quite similar but conveniently have different coloured hair. Two of them fall in love with the same man and jealousy leads to nasty consequences. The story is a little bizarre, but Niffenegger explains it needs to be imagined as a silent film made from Japanese prints, a melodrama of sibling rivalry. The text is certainly minimal, often as little as one or two words on the page opposite the prints.
In her afterword, Niffenegger explains the complicated process involved in the hand printing. The prints, in subdued colours (except for the sisters’ hair), are quite individual, and Niffenegger’s style is distinctive. It is easy to see from her later works (The Night Book Mobile and Raven Girl) that both the quality of the art and the storytelling have improved since the earlier books. Dedicated Niffenegger fans may wish to own a copy; borrowing from the library is recommended for those who are merely “interested”. Different.
Author Biography - Audrey Niffenegger
Audrey Niffenegger is a visual artist and writer who lives mostly in Chicago and occasionally in London. She has published six books, including the novels The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry. She helped to found the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts. Her art has been exhibited by Printworks Gallery in Chicago since 1986. She is a Professor in the Fiction Department of Columbia College. Her recent projects include a ballet, Raven Girl, in collaboration with Wayne McGregor for the Royal Opera House Ballet.