Emma Tennant: Sisters and Strangers

(430 words)
  • Gina Wisker (University of Brighton)

Sisters and Strangers (1990) is a moral 'everywoman' tale which utilises the forms of oral storytelling and parable to enlighten two young girls about the possibilities and the limitations of women's lives. The novel begins with Grandmother Dummer, erstwhile witch-like storytelling relative to Elsie and the narrator. She moves beyond the traditional tales of “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Frog Prince” into a fairy story for grown ups, following the cautionary tale of Eve and Adam, contemporary young marrieds in London. The move begins in romantic fiction/fairytale form: “There once was a woman who was so ridiculously happy that she hardly dared go out into the world. She had found love, you see” (p.10). Eve has …

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Wisker, Gina. "Sisters and Strangers". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 October 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2038, accessed 01 October 2016.]