Sisters: Daisy Johnson transcends her own dazzling debut

Her predilection for the abject, monstrous and ominous are marshalled to real purpose

Daisy Johnson. Photograph: David Levenson/Getty

Daisy Johnson. Photograph: David Levenson/Getty

Daisy Johnson’s dazzling 2018 debut, Everything Under, made her the youngest author to have been shortlisted for the Booker in the history of the prize. This compelling adaptation of the Oedipus story explored utterly modern anxieties about dementia, dysfunctional parenting and crises of gender identity in a style that effortlessly blended classical myth with supernatural horror.

In Johnson’s fiction, dreams and fantasies are related as vividly as real events, and often seem to tell us more about characters’ emotional lives. Her latest novel, Sisters, is in many respects a more moving and more refined work, exhibiting the author’s facility for painting the contemporary world using a Gothic palette while paring back the propensity towards merely gratuitous strangeness or obscurity.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.