Our reading guide for The Looking-Glass Sisters with much food for thought.
1 The narrator is never named. What is the impact of this?
2 The narrator describes herself as ‘a woman on the periphery of all truths’. Can the reader believe everything that the she says or describes? What does the narrator say which suggests that her narrative is unreliable?
3 Despite the abuse the narrator claims to suffer in the hands of her sister, do you find yourself sympathising with Ragna? In what way does Gabrielsen explore the complications of sibling relationships?
4 The Looking-Glass Sisters is described as a ‘tragic love story’. In what way, and between which characters, could this be described as a ‘love story’?
5 To what extent does the form and language of the novel mirror the Nordic landscape in which it is set?
6 Despite being bleak and unsettling at times, there are moments of humour in The Looking-Glass Sisters. What role does this humour play?
7 Throughout The Looking-Glass Sisters there is a preoccupation with lakes and mirrors. What do they represent?
8 Although this appears to be a story about the relationship between two sisters, what other relationship could it be describing?
9 How does the ending of the story link back to the beginning? Does the narrator die? Does it matter either way? Is this a literal or creative death?
10 The narrator embodies the concept of the ‘madwoman in the attic’. To what extent does the book address issues surrounding female creativity and the search for a feminine voice?
You can download the reading guide as a PDF here.