by Francisco X. Stork
Release date : January 1st, 2012
TWO SISTERS: Kate is bound for Stanford and an M.D. -- if her family will let her go. Mary wants only to stay home and paint. When their loving but repressive father dies, they must figure out how to support themselves and their mother, who is in a permanent vegetative state, and how to get along in all their uneasy sisterhood.
THREE YOUNG MEN: Then three men sway their lives: Kate's boyfriend Simon offers to marry her, providing much-needed stability. Mary is drawn to Marcos, though she fears his violent past. And Andy tempts Kate with more than romance, recognizing her ambition because it matches his own.
ONE AGONIZING CHOICE: Kate and Mary each find new possibilities and darknesses in their sudden freedom. But it's Mama's life that might divide them for good -- the question of *if* she lives, and what's worth living for.
MY THOUGHTS : This touching book is based on the two sisters' psychology, which is both fascinating and frustrating because I thought it wasn't pushed far enough. It felt shy. The theme is quite heavy, both girls have got very difficult choices to make at a point in their lives where they discover themselves on their own and also together. So there is quite a lot to develop, which is great. But, here, I felt like we were half way between a "realistic", classic plot and a psychologic and theological one. Which ended up, for me, with both aspects not quite pushed like they could've been on their own, and that's too bad because both were interesting!
I felt like all the secondary characters were thrown into the sisters' lives to give the plot some sort of consistancy, and I didn't think that was necessary. All the more so as these characters weren't given an importance that they could've deserved.
Kate and Mary were brought up by a conservative and strict father, so they're both living out of their time, far from modernity, from the way they talk to their daily habits. This lead to me having a bit of trouble figuring out that the book took place nowadays. Ok, maybe I'm stupid. But I really asked myself the question! There are many little things like that which I found incoherent, and which didn't help me getting into the book like I would've wanted to.
But I must say that IRISES was written with finesse and subtility, and it's a very moving read (some parts really made my eyes water). The narrator's omniscience gives peps to the plot and helps us understand the girls. There's a fragility and a real respect in the writing which makes the reading soft and addictive. So it's an introspective but interesting read nonetheless!