The inspiration for The Bird Sisters came to Rebecca Rasmussen while reading her grandmother Kit’s journals. Kit lost both her parents at age 17 just after a crisis revealed the failings in their marriage. As she grew older, she grew away from her only sister, Virginia. This novel is Rasmussen’s imaginings of what could have been, had Kit and Virginia learned to cling to each other rather than turn away.
You can meet Rebecca Rasmussen and learn more about her first novel when she visits Magers & Quinn–Thursday, May 19, at 7:30pm.
“The Bird Sisters is that immensely satisfying combination of indelible characters and a suspenseful and cunningly revealed plot. …Full of wonderful surprises, The Bird Sisters is a splendid debut that will stay with the reader long after the last page.”–Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street
Milly and Twiss weren’t always two old spinsters known to everyone in Spring Green, Wisconsin as the Bird Sisters. There was a time when people called Milly “Goldilocks” because of her beautiful hair, and Twiss played Lewis and Clark on the course with her golf-pro father. Rebecca Rasmussen’s masterfully written debut novel, The Bird Sisters, takes readers though the routines of a single day in the lives of these elderly sisters, from waking up in their childhood beds to sharing a glass of ice tea on the porch of the wind-worn house they grew up in. Their minds are fixed on the summer of 1947, the summer their Cousin Bett came down from Deadwater, Minnesota to stay and nothing was ever the same again. The two narratives twist and turn like the Wisconsin River, ultimately revealing how the sisters’ hearts came to be broken and why they have spent their lives healing birds and sometimes people.
“Rebecca Rasmussen’s gorgeous debut is infused with a certain grace: there remains hope that damaged things, wild or tame, can still be nursed back together again.”–Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone
Rebecca Rasmussen teaches creative writing and literature at Fontbonne University. Her stories have appeared in Triquarterly magazine and the Mid-American Review. She was a finalist in both Narrative magazine’s 30 Below Contest for writers under the age of thirty and Glimmer Train’s Family Matters Contest. She lives with her husband and daughter in St. Louis.
Rebecca will be joined by Kate Ledger, author of Remedies. Simon and Emily Bear look like a couple who have it all. Simon is a respected doctor; Emily shines as a public relations expert who spins away her corporate clients’ mistakes. Yet as their 13-year-old daughter’s troubled summer reveals, all is not perfect inside this home. Simon has stumbled upon an obscure drug that may revolutionize the treatment of pain. In his excitement, he barely notices that Emily is seeking relief from the family’s tragic past. And neither fully realizes how much danger their daughter is in. Soon, everything they have will be on the brink of collapse, and there will be no masking the symptoms or hiding the truth any more.
Details on this and all our events are here.–David E