This is an astonishing piece of work, filled with literary references that evoke beloved classic masterpieces. From the first page, Alice Pinkerton muses about her life as a woman of the twentieth century, although controlled by the rigid Victorian mores that govern every element of current society. Likening herself to Rochester's wife, the madwoman in Jane Eyre, Alice is hardly mad, rather a lady of exquisite intellectual sensibilities who does not live incarcerated, instead attending church and performing other duties required by her station.
Clearly, Alice is a woman before her time, but it is her mind, not her person that is imprisoned; the entire work takes place in the character’s head, segueing from one literary connection to another, one random thought to another. This is essentially a fascinating dialog, one that questions, pokes, prods and eviscerates the common mentality.
The forces that converge in Alice's thoughts, literary, musical, sometimes vaguely threatening, run from simple observations to more convoluted theories. Were she a man, Alice would be feted as a master of ideas and revolutionary concepts. That said, this is a stream-of-consciousness novel with Alice as the only character, driven by her own inner dialog without the respite of other points of view.
Although I tried, I could not continue my journey with the literate Alice, eventually exhausted by the sheer force of words spinning through her imagination. The number of pages and range of ideas in this book are staggering, especially the literary references, which mine long-forgotten, if once-beloved novels. But after more than 200 pages, Alice proved too much for me.
I envision the author, churning out endless pages, falling deeper into Alice's psyche, and I cannot imagine that this literary monument should go unappreciated. Considering the enormous energy expended in the 727 pages of Pinkerton's Sister, there surely is a welcoming audience for this novel. There are many readers who enjoy stream-of-consciousness novels and I hope this one receives its share of well-deserved applause.