In the novel I See You Everywhere , the two sisters, Louisa and Clem, speak to us in their alternate voices, to reveal their distinctive qualities; as unique as each one is, the bond they share is heightened by their distinct individuality.
Louisa is the oldest—the conscientious student and the one who longs for marriage, children and an art career— while Clement (Clem) is the daring one— the rebel, uncontainable, and irresistible to men.
Their story begins in the eighties and continues for more than a decade—and then veers off in a new direction when their bond is tragically severed.
In Clement’s voice, we learn how she feels about her life, her choices: “Sometimes I feel uncommitted to life, or to mine. I feel as if what I thought was going to be My Life (the Siamese twin) quietly snuck off on her own when I wasn’t looking, chose a different fork in the trail a ways back, and sometimes our two paths cross, so I bump into My Life by accident, and I say, `Here you are! Where have you been?’ ”
An excerpt from Louisa’s story reveals and sums up how different she feels from Clem—how different she is… “About the only thing we had in common that summer was solitude. Or so I was led to believe. Mine was a solitude of retreat and longing, fraught with wishes and sighs—but Clem’s I imagined as sure and intrepid, a flight from everything soft about civilization. I was copy-editing ruminations on art. Clem was counting seals…We communicate best by mail. On the phone, we argue. In person, we tend to become sarcastic. Our letters, though, have a touch of romantic collusion.”
From an early age, the girls are rivals, even as they cling to each other to define them as individuals and as part of a unit known as sisters. They validate each others’ feelings, even though they disagree about so much. Through the years, the strength of the bond increases…They face difficulties and support each other despite the rivalries and differences between them. Their lives change in dramatic directions. The author beautifully chronicles the growth of the women and their relationship, even as she teases us by leaving clues that, at some point, everything will change dramatically and unexpectedly.
This story, beautifully wrought with great descriptions that bring the reader right into each moment, spotlights clearly the emotional life of each woman through the alternate use of the first person narrative. It is almost as if we can see inside each woman’s soul.