The Alternatives

Riverhead. Apr. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9780593545003. $28. F
Four Irish sisters lose their parents in a wild storm. Afterward, Olwen, the oldest, struggles to hold the family together with minimal help from relatives until all four girls are old enough to be independent. The sisters survive and each earn doctorates in various fields. Rhona is a political organizer, Nell is a philosopher, Maeve is a chef/internet influencer, and Olwen is a geologist. The sisters go their separate ways for a time, each scarred by the loss of their parents. One day, without warning, Olwen disappears. Rhona, Nell, and Maeve reunite to track her down, but Olwen doesn’t really want to be found. When her sisters appear, their persistence wears her down and she allows them to stay for a few days. During this impromptu family reunion, the sisters reconnect and begin to understand each other and the choices they have made. They reorganize their alliances and regroup as a family, and Olwen comes to understand, in the most vivid circumstances possible, the cost of isolation.
VERDICT Hughes (The Wild Laughter) tells an intriguing story of complex family connections, highlighting the diversity that often exists among siblings, and underlining the commonalities that tie them together. Readers will enjoy this story about the need for family, independence, and support.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing