Thunderstorms are rolling across the summer sky. Every time one breaks, Rose Bowan loses consciousness and has vivid, realistic dreams about being in another woman’s body.  Is Rose merely dreaming? Or is she, in fact, inhabiting a stranger? Disturbed yet entranced, she sets out to discover what is happening to her, leaving the cocoon of her family’s small repertory cinema for the larger, upended world of someone wildly different from herself. Meanwhile her mother is in the early stages of dementia, and has begun to speak for the first time in decades about another haunting presence: Rose’s younger sister.

 In Little Sister, Barbara Gowdy explores the astonishing power of empathy, the question of where we end and others begin, and the fierce bonds of motherhood and sisterhood.  

critical acclaim

“For almost 30 years Barbara Gowdy has been cutting wildly surreal, sometimes hyperreal, paths into the kind of truth recognized with the heart as much as the mind… Little Sister is a supernatural domestic thriller and a crackling tour de force.  Thanks to Gowdy’s electric style and vision, the result is unforgettable.”
The Sunday New York Times

“Electrifying. Gowdy sucks readers into this suspenseful, supernatural story like a strong wind in a squall.”
Kirkus (starred review)

“Highly readable prose, an intriguing premise, and vivid storytelling.”
Quill and Quire (starred review)

“Gowdy’s new novel weaves an inventive, spellbinding tale of loss, regret, and redemption that takes a heartfelt look at what it means to be a mother, daughter, and sister.  A thrilling, captivating exploration of guilt, the female psyche, and the bonds of womanhood.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“Barbara Gowdy is a magical storyteller.  Little Sister is a gem, powered by Gowdy’s incredible fabulist imagination.”
BBC — “Must Reads”

“Gowdy’s tender, and occasionally funny, portrayal of Rose explores the boundaries of the human soul and those responsibilities that weigh upon us as much if not more than it explores the boundaries of the human mind.”
Library Journal

“Little Sister is fun and funny and can frequently startle you, breaking your heart with the lovingly observed minutia of everyday experience.  Little Sister is all depth and grace and yet never more than a sentence away from a playful nudge in the ribs.”
Jose Teodoro, The Globe and Mail

Little Sister marks the return, after the longest break of her career, of one of the most inventive and important writers Canada has ever produced.”
Mark Medley, The Globe and Mail

“Barbara Gowdy’s portrayal of oddball family shimmers on the page.  As always, Gowdy tells a great story in a commanding voice. In addition, this time around she introduces a new device that allows her to explore rich and rewarding territory.”
The Toronto Star

“The release of any book by Barbara Gowdy qualifies as a literary event.  Little Sister takes the inventiveness of its predecessors and ups the ante.”
The Walrus   

“Gowdy’s dazzling new novel ranks among her very best.
The Montreal Gazette

“One of Canada’s most innovative writers.  She offers us something startling and original.  A suspenseful, cinematic romp through a series of external and internal storms, a sometimes sexy comedy, a graceful story of a woman trying to make sense of her life choices. Well worth the wait.”
The Literary Review of Canada

“Barbara Gowdy writes neo-Gothic psychodrama like no other Canadian.”
Toronto Life

“Internationally acclaimed author Barbara Gowdy’s newest novel, Little Sister, is a remarkable look at the intricacies of emotional lives and the spectre of the past.”
The Winnipeg Review

“Barbara Gowdy is, once again, weird but wonderful. Her new novel, Little Sister, is a mesmerizing trip.  We are utterly fascinated.”

“One of our finest writers.”
Shelagh Rogers, CBC Radio One, The Next Chapter

“The last book I read that I couldn’t put down was an advance reading copy of Barbara Gowdy’s Little Sister. It’s just a stunning page-turner, everything obsessive Gowdy fans such as me have been waiting for.”
Zoe Whittall, Scotiabank-Giller shortlisted author of The Best Kind of People

“Barbara Gowdy fills me with wonder. It is impossible to categorize her marvelous work, which is the highest compliment I can think of. Little Sister is no exception: a sui generis novel that offers all the excitements of a mystery while also exploring the strange workings of desire, empathy, identity, and memory. I won’t sit through another thunderstorm without remembering this book and its generous surprises.”
Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, PEN/Faulkner and National Book Award- nominated author of Ms. Hempel Chronicles

“Wonderfully haunting and unsettling, Barbara Gowdy’s Little Sister is quite unlike anything I’ve read before: an examination of the porous boundaries of identity, time, sanity and madness. Set against the background of a movie revival theatre, the novel itself evokes an undiscovered classic Hitchcock, like Vertigo, and seamlessly weaves together moving themes of grief, buried guilt, longing and, ultimately, redemption.”
John Colapinto, award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of As Nature Made Him

“Gowdy’s characters are unforgettable, her dialogue dead-on funny and smart. Her children are perfectly drawn, and, oh, the grown-ups! They are brilliantly irreverent, full of wit and wisdom, creating a story so strange, so moving, that you will tuck it into your heart and keep it there.”
Linda Spalding, Governor-General’s-Award-winning author of The Purchase

Little Sister is an existential puzzle about the female psyche. In it, women change bodies when lightning flashes, and search for friends they have never met. Gowdy is renowned for her ability to shine light on the hidden, unsavory and electric recesses of the mind. In Little Sister, her storytelling is fearless, inventive and dazzling.”
Heather O’Neill, award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of Lullabies for Little Criminals

“At once suspenseful and lyrical, Little Sister transports its characters (and its readers) into different bodies and different eras. Brilliantly, devastatingly, Barbara Gowdy unveils the alternate possibilities hidden within the everyday.”
Helen Phillips, award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of The Beautiful Bureaucrat

“I read it fast. Too fast, probably, but i couldn’t help myself…the mystery is irresistible. I love reading Barbara Gowdy because she’s not afraid to get weird, to put her reader in troubling, inexplicable states of consciousness. She does this again (dramatically, with thunder and lightning!) in Little Sister. The book kept surprising me. It made me look carefully for patterns, clues, coincidences and connections. I found them, but each answer led to another question, right until the very last sentence. Such a satisfying read!”
Sarah Selecky, Scotiabank-Giller-shortlisted author of The Cake is for the Party

Little Sister is only the latest in a long lines of complications I’ve faced when it comes to recommending my favorite Barbara Gowdy book. ‘Oh, you haven’t read Barbara Gowdy?’ I’ll say, ‘You should try…’ but then what? Which book should I name? The truth is that, in each and every one, she sees so deeply into her characters, and with such brightness, that their very cells seem to glow. Gowdy is, quite simply, a virtuoso.”
Kevin Brockmeier, award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of The Illuminations

“For those who already pine for new work from Barbara Gowdy, Little Sister is the real deal: vintage stuff. For those happy spirits who’ve yet to read her, there couldn’t be a better introduction. Sweet, sly, poignantly funny, its plotting shows the emotional dexterity of a mistress of her craft. This is a novel to curl up with and devour in one sitting; buy it in handfuls and give it to the people who matter to you.”
Patrick Gale, award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of A Place Called Winter

Little Sister is weird and wonderful. Like all of Gowdy’s work, it will subtly change how you look at the everyday.”
Ayelet Waldman, New York Times best-selling author of  Love and Treasure

“Little Sister is a profound, fascinating meditation on the superpowers deep inside the consciousness, if we can only get there. Once you start reading this book, you’ll want to live there for a long while, in its very interesting story line and its deep, unshakable belief in the thrilling capabilities of the mind.”
Rebecca Lee, National-Magazine-Award-winning author of Bobcat and Other Stories