“This reads like a noir laced with upper-class adult femininity: French perfume, antique designer gowns, large inheritances in the form of jewelry and real estate, functioning alcoholism.
Lyon sets an over-beautified stage, an atmosphere of champagne bubbles and sandalwood, and places two pairs of privileged sisters at its center. When you think unlikable but understandable characters, these are them: Sara, a professor of ethics and an alcoholic who is responsible for her mentally disabled sister, Mattie; Saskia, a student without a grasp on her self, who has long been the responsible one in her relationship with her sister Jenny, a young woman whose mental illness and high-risk behaviors converge in a devastating accident.
Lyon weaves psychological suspense and the amorphous edges of consent (medical, sexual, parental, familial, manipulated, etc.) into the narrative, stripping the stage and her performers bare, all sharp angles and shreds.
Then, the real performance begins.”
TW: suicide, assault, addiction
LONGLISTED FOR THE GILLER PRIZE
From “this generation’s answer to Alice Munro” (Vancouver Sun) comes a sly, sensual, haunting novel about two women whose lives collide when tragedy changes them forever.
Saskia and Jenny are twins alike in appearance only: Saskia is a grad student with a single-minded focus on her studies, while Jenny is glamorous, thrill-seeking, and capricious. Still, when Jenny is severely injured in an accident, Saskia puts her life on hold to be with her sister. Sara and Mattie are sisters with another difficult dynamic. Mattie, who is younger, is intellectually disabled. Sara loves nothing more than fine wines, perfumes, and expensive clothing, and leaves home at the first opportunity. But when their mother dies, Sara inherits the duty of caring for her sister. She moves Mattie in with her—but it’s not long until tragedy strikes. Now, both Sara and Saskia, having been caregivers for so long, find themselves on their own. Yet through a cascade of circumstances as devastating as they are unexpected, these two women will come together. Razor-sharp and profoundly moving, Consent is a thought-provoking exploration of the complexities of familial duty, and of how love can become entangled with guilt, resentment, and regret.