MY SISTER GONE by Kathryn Marshall


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In 1960 in an East Texas town, eleven-year-old Carrie, already germinating a random bad seed of female rage, bums June bugs, fries slugs and has already staked out enemies: boys; and God, Who's one too, and made her a girl, to bleed and be humiliated (""If I could think of a trick to play on God for that I'd sure do it""); the dogs that mounted their bitch; lousy Billy Ed and his nail gun; and Grandpa who knew where to tickle Carrie and nine-year-old sister Helen that day on a rock. With Helen, scared, pulled along, Carrie uses poison from Voodoo Annie on the dogs -- and on Grandpa -- after she has tried to kill Billy Ed by shutting him in the cesspool. Helen tells about Billy Ed; she tells about Grandpa. And Carrie says she'll kill Helen too, but she won't. So it's Helen who has to stand outside the ""nothing"" that's left after scores are settled. Helen continues her narrative in 1969, after Carrie, now a prostitute, shows up at a freak party, where Helen's lover, John, a spaced-out junkie, takes her and where he beats her. Carrie's rage is again focused -- she finally sleeps with John to protect Helen, gets pregnant and dies from one of Voodoo Annie's cut-rate abortions. At last Helen is released from her sister's consuming life-in-anger. . . . An insistent, original, spiky first novel achieved with style and a curious gentleness.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1975
ISBN: 0944439497
Publisher: Harper & Row