FICTION

Consent

Knopf. Jan. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780593318003. $25.95. F
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Two pairs of Canadian sisters, living somewhat parallel lives, are on a collision course after separate tragedies derail them. Sara’s younger sister, Mattie, has significant mental deficits that have demanded all their parents’ attention. Sara escapes to college to pursue her interest in high fashion until the death of their surviving parent requires her to return home to care for Mattie. When Robert, a handyman with a shady past, marries Mattie while Sara is away, Sara takes legal action to keep them apart, with terrible consequences for Mattie. Meanwhile, twins Saskia and Jenny live completely opposite lives. While their wealthy parents are laser-focused on keeping wild, party-girl Jenny out of trouble, Saskia escapes into a dense intellectual life in academia. Then Jenny is left in a coma after a car accident, and responsibility for her medical care falls on Saskia, who must make an impossible choice. A search for answers into Jenny’s last moments leads Saskia to contact Sara for a deeper understanding of the tie that binds them, drawing the two women into a deadly dance of need and dark psychology.
VERDICT Prolific author Lyon, who achieved international success with her first novel, 2010’s The Golden Mean, is on track for more acclaim with this suspenseful, seamlessly constructed novel of intricately mingled lives. It’s already been long-listed for Canada’s prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize.
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