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I See You Everywhere: A Review

I See You EverywhereI See You Everywhere by Julia Glass

Reviewed by Sarah L. Courteau
The Virginia Quarterly Review

In National Book Award–winner Julia Glass's third novel, sisters Louisa and Clem Jardine take turns recounting their lives across twenty-five years. Cautious Harvard grad Louisa, an artist turned Manhattan arts editor, resents and envies her younger sister, a seemingly carefree wildlife biologist, an inadvertent man-eater, and their parents' obvious favorite. Clem is too heedless to be blameless. The grudges and confidences, the triumphs and disappointments of these women map complex emotional terrain, and Glass's gift for characterization fleshes her women to life. But much of the narrative tension derives simply from trying to piece together what has happened -- whom Louisa married, how Clem's last relationship ended -- in the months or years that gape between chapters. As Clem hopscotches from job to job and man to man, she remains nearly as opaque to us as she does to her sister, but, in the way of prodigals, she charms and engages, while dutiful Louisa begins to curdle with age. Their lives, says Louisa, are "like a double helix, two souls coiling round a common axis, joined yet never touching." Without a few messy intersections, shared DNA isn't enough to imbue this meticulously crafted tale with the fierce investment of family feeling.

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