YOU MUST BE SISTERS by Deborah Moggach


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Respectable middle-class Harrow, an English suburb, spawns three sisters--orderly, conforming Claire, a school teacher; rebellious Laura, larking up to Bristol University where she's about to jump some hurdles into the Unsuitable; and twelve-year-old Holly, away at boarding school. Claire travels the straight and delightful with Geoff, a handsome business sort who is gradually drawn into a fascination with the tight sisterly circle and their parents--darling Dan, who paints, and dear Rosemary. Geoff knows how to take charge, pay for tickets to the zoo, and remove alien substances from Holly's eye. Claire and Geoff will marry. But the real problem is Laura, who has acquired a disreputable, childlike, but appealing lover, Mac, a drop-out art student and sometime bus conductor. Mac hardly ever visits his working-class Mum and Dad who think, proudly, that he's still in school. Holly, during the hols, chatters back and forth between the sisters, and there's a nice family restaurant dinner to welcome Geoff into the family. (Everyone's awfully decent to Mac, who tattily orders something outsize and grand.) Eventually Laura will come to her senses, leave Mac, have an abortion, and plan to work for a year to pay for it, before returning, enlarged in vision about her family and people in general, to the university to Apply Herself. Moggach's novel is a good-natured enough homily, but many readers could well be put off by upper-mid-British patois, which tootles along in rivulets of nuance that may not really be worth tuning in for.

Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 1978
Publisher: St. Martin's