Lily and Mabel, two drifty sisters, struggle to keep their rural Nebraska junk shop going after their grandmother takes off for sunny Florida. It's not the first time they've been abandoned--their mother left them long ago after their father committed suicide.
After inconclusive encounters with Jordan, the object of both their desires, Lily takes off to Mexico with Jordan in search of their wayward mother, while Mabel stays home to mind the store--by removing all its contents to the front yard. Mabel takes up with a man who gets lost. And both sisters show their ability to muddle through despite the pain of their losses.
This report prepared by Lyda Phillips
Blue Hen, May 2002, 23.95, 256 pp.
Years ago in Nebraska, their father committed suicide and their mother abandoned them to their grandmother. Now their grandmother has left the two sisters by themselves to live in and eke a living out of her antique shop that most people would call a rural junk store. The Rollows, twenty-one year old Mabel and nineteen year old Lily, struggle with the latest renunciation of the two of them. This leaves both sisters emotionally stunned and looking introspectively as to why adults leave them.
Though rather different in appearance and demeanor, the siblings concur on two things that parents desert the young and that gin guzzling Jordan is cute but in a destructive way. Lily persuades Jordan to accompany her to confront her mother somewhere in the southwest. This leaves Mabel feeling further abandoned, but seeking solace and understanding by using a medium to attempt to communicate with her deceased dad.
The powerful cast makes THE PHANTOM LIMBS OF THE ROLLOW SISTERS into a strong angst-laden reading experience. On the other hand, Timothy Schaffert provides so much insight into the Rollow sisters, he slows down his plot and sends the reader into character overload requiring the reader to deliberately simmer over the tale. The story line remains perceptive and intelligent enabling the audience to observe two wounded young struggle to understand the meaning of at least their lives.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner