ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Margaret Drabble is a popular novelist, critic and biographer. She was appointed the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1980. She was born in Sheffield and studied at the Newnham College, Cambridge. Her numerous fiction and non-fiction works have earned her a remarkable fan following. She is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd.
The Seven Sisters describes the journey of seven women to the Mediterranean. The novel is divided into four parts, each of which is told from the perspective of a different character. It does complete justice to Margaret Drabble’s style of writing, with its brilliant description of the stories of strong women, who are well aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
The protagonist of the novel is Candida, a middle-aged divorcee living in Central London. The first part of the story is narrated by Candida, who pours her heart out in a diary. She beautifully depicts both her present in London and her past in the picturesque neighborhood of Suffolk. She also mentions her relationship with her ex-husband and explains what led to their divorce.
The second section is concerned with the Italian adventures of Candida and her friends. The third-person narrative introduces the readers to different women in Candida’s tour group. Every woman in the gang has her own story, but the common thread that binds them is that they are all single. This portion of the story shows Candida in a much better light as compared to her self-deprecating tone in the first part.
The next segment presents the story from yet another standpoint. It is written from the perspective of Candida’s daughter Ellen. She continues the story of her mother and describes the relationship between her parents. Ellen tries to make sense out of Candida’s diary entries to try and figure out the reasons that led to her mother committing suicide. This perfectly sets the stage for the final leg of the novel, where the narration alternates between first and third person.
The story is fairly slow-paced and seems to drag on at times. The narrative takes unexpected twists and turns, which leaves the reader guessing. By the third part of the book, one is left wondering as to what is real and what is not.
The Seven Sisters merits an average score of 3 stars from Ameya. Many a reader will find it hard to switch between the alternate viewpoints presented throughout the story. The book is, in all honesty, not a particularly great read, either. It is a rather bittersweet collection of the melancholic musings of the protagonist Candida. Another troubling aspect of The Seven Sisters is that its final act leaves a lot to be desired. Having read so much about Candida’s life from different points of view, readers are left wondering as to what eventually became of her. This one is at best meant to be read on a damp and rainy weekend.
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