Review: The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters by Michelle Lovric

Truly splendid, this book is truly splendid.

The Hair’s the Thing

This novel follows seven long-haired sisters, on a journey which takes them from Harristown, in County Kildare, to Dublin and on to Venice. Their remarkably long hair is held as their defining or outstanding feature, it makes the sisters stand out amongst their peers, and then it makes them famous. However, Lovric also explores the theme of uniqueness on another level, as can be seen in the descriptions we encounter when we meet the sisters at their first show:

Portia by John Everett Millais (1886)
Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1874)

Lucky Number Seven

As a native of Seven Sisters in London, I myself am not alien to the particular conceptual charms of a septet of women who, numbering seven, the number of divine completeness, represent something that transcends their status as mere mortals.

Mercury Entrusting the Infant Bacchus to the Nymphs of Nysa (aka the Hyades) by Franҫois Boucher (1734)
The Seven Sutherland Sisters

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright

I will only briefly touch upon the wealth that could be said about the narrator of this story, Manticory, as she is just such a great character that it is essential to read and experience her for yourself. Manticory’s role as a storyteller is a rich source of delight and fascination in this novel. She is definitely a reader’s narrator. She is herself a reader, and a writer, and she speaks to truths that can only really be fully understood by readers and writers. Speaking of her love of books she says:

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