"My sister life still pouring down today is everywhere battered like a spring rain, but people with watch chains and bracelets complain and civilly sting like snakes in the hay" So begins one of Pasternak's poems. The source for the title of this exciting novel about estranged orphaned sisters, Christine and Jan. The novel opens with Christine, a Rousseau scholar, living in Paris with her husband Mark DeKalb, a venture capitalist, and their eight-year-old son, Nicholas. Jan, a former drug addict, is a painter squatting in a London slum with her lover Tom, a jazz guitarist. One sister moves in the world of the international set. The other hovers at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Over the course of a story that is, by turns, wittily satiric and emotionally charged, the sisters reconcile as they reconnect with the specters of the past. The lives, loves, and dubious dealings of a businessman and his political friends are set off against the high spirit and honesty of two struggling artists. Set in Paris, London, New York, Washington, and the islands of the Caribbean, social and sexual affairs are tempered by the philosophical outlook of Christine's friend Max Raskin, a Menshevik émigré doctor devoted to caring for the people of his district in Paris. The reader is drawn into the circles of two committed, intelligent women who face the unexpected challenge of reversal of fortunes.
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