From Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Alix Ohlin comes an intimate and compelling novel of motherhood, love, a search for belonging, and what it means to be a sister.
All her life, Lark Brossard felt invisible, overshadowed by the people around her: first by her temperamental mother; then by her sister, Robin, a brilliant pianist as wild as the animals she loves; and finally by Lawrence Wheelock, a filmmaker who is both Lark’s employer and her occasional lover. When Wheelock denies her what she longs for most — a child — Lark is forced to re-examine a life marked by unrealized ambitions and thwarted desires. As she takes charge of her destiny, Lark comes to rely on Robin in ways she never could have imagined.
In this meditation on motherhood, sisterhood, desire, and self-knowledge, Alix Ohlin traces the rich and complex path towards fulfillment as an artist and as a human being.
About the author
ALIX OHLIN is the author of four books, including the novels Inside, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and Dual Citizens, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Short Stories, and many other publications. Born and raised in Montreal, she lives in Vancouver, where she chairs the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia.
- Runner-up, Scotiabank Giller Prize
- Runner-up, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
- Commended, A Globe and Mail Book of the Year
- Commended, A CBC Book of the Year
If storytellers seduce not just with the tale but how they tell it, then Ohlin is exemplary.
Luminous … Ohlin’s touching, beautifully crafted story traces the unbreakable bond holding the sisters together, even when miles apart, through many changes.
Alix Ohlin’s gorgeously understated writing brings her characters to vivid, brilliant life, especially fiercely loyal and socially awkward Lark, who felt like someone we’d love to be friends with.
Apple Books Canada
Touching . . . Dual Citizens has a lot in common with Zadie Smith’s Swing Time and Claire Messud’s The Burning Girl.
Wall Street Journal
Evocative … Traces [its] characters over long arcs of time and place with equal amounts grace and wit.
Ohlin’s prose and insight are luminous … As with her prior novel, Inside, Ohlin is adroit at articulating her characters’ internal dialogues, and it becomes apparent to the reader as it does to both women that they are at their most harmonious when connected to each other.
With supreme confidence, Ohlin’s quicksilver prose and brilliant characterization at once seize and pull the reader into the wide-ranging and complex world of half-sisters Robin and Lark as they struggle with questions of identity, the slow burn of mental illness, and the need to leave your mark on the world. Her characters are as complex and real as your own dearest loved ones. Dual Citizens is a compulsively readable novel about family, sisterhood, and those uncontrollable forces that drive and haunt us.
Rogers Writers’Trust Fiction Prize Jury Citation
Fascinating and unexpected.