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Once We Were Sisters

A Memoir

Once We Were Sisters by Sheila Kohler
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ONE OF PEOPLE MAGAZINE’S BEST NEW BOOKS

“A
 searing and intimate memoir about love turned deadly.” —The BBC

“An intimate illumination of sisterhood and loss.” People


When Sheila Kohler was thirty-seven, she received the heart-stopping news that her sister Maxine, only two years older, was killed when her husband drove them off a deserted road in Johannesburg.  Stunned by the news, she immediately flew back to the country where she was born, determined to find answers and forced to reckon with his history of violence and the lingering effects of their most unusual childhood—one marked by death and the misguided love of their mother.

In her signature spare and incisive prose, Sheila Kohler recounts the lives she and her sister led. Flashing back to their storybook childhood at the family estate, Crossways, Kohler tells of the death of her father when she and Maxine were girls, which led to the family abandoning their house and the girls being raised by their mother, at turns distant and suffocating.  We follow them to the cloistered Anglican boarding school where they first learn of separation and later their studies in Rome and Paris where they plan grand lives for themselves—lives that are interrupted when both marry young and discover they have made poor choices.  Kohler  evokes the bond between sisters and shows how that bond changes but never breaks, even after death.

“A beautiful and disturbing memoir of a beloved sister who died at the age of thirty-nine in circumstances that strongly suggest murder. . . . Highly recommended.” —Joyce Carol Oates
Penguin Publishing Group; January 2017
256 pages; ISBN 9781101993170
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Title: Once We Were Sisters
Author: Sheila Kohler
 
Subject categories
ISBNs
9780143129295
9781101993170