Dual Citizens by Alix Ohlin

Dual Citizens

Alix Ohlin

In this gripping, unforgettable novel about art, ambition, sisterhood, motherhood, and self-knowledge, Alix Ohlin traces the rich and complicated lives of two indelible women.

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A masterful achievement: a joint coming-of-age story and an achingly poignant portrait of the strange, painful, ultimately life-sustaining bonds between sisters.

Lark and Robin are half-sisters whose similarities end at being named for birds. While Lark is shy and studious, Robin is wild and artistic. Raised in Montreal by their disinterested single mother, they form a fierce team in childhood regardless of their differences. As they grow up, Lark excels at school and Robin becomes an extraordinary pianist. At seventeen, Lark flees to America to attend college, where she finds her calling in documentary films, and her sister soon joins her.

Later, in New York City, they find themselves tested: Lark struggles with self-doubt, and Robin chafes against the demands of Juilliard. Under pressure, their bond grows strained and ultimately is broken, and their paths abruptly diverge. Years later, Lark's life is in tatters and Robin's is wilder than ever. As Lark tries to take charge of her destiny, she discovers that despite the difficulties of their relationship, there is only one person she can truly rely on: her sister.

In this gripping, unforgettable novel about art, ambition, sisterhood, motherhood, and self-knowledge, Alix Ohlin traces the rich and complicated lives of two indelible women. Dazzlingly insightful and beautifully crafted, Dual Citizens captures the unique language of sisters and makes visible the imperceptible strings that bind us to the ones we love for good.

Advance Galley Reviews

Did not finish. Gave up about 50 pages in. Bored. No real plot.

I enjoyed this book. The characters felt real and I was drawn into their lives immediately. I was a bit disappointed with the ending. Like another reviewer, I would have loved to know more about life after Scottie.

Dual Citizens is about two sisters born in Montreal. Their mother does not care about them. Each of the girls has a different father. Perhaps Maryanne (the mother) is bitter because each has left her. This abandonment their mother has suffered, leaves Lark, the older one, to care for Robin, her sister. But their relationship is not always good. They do drift apart, eventually to get back together again. I had a sister once and appreciate reading stories about girl siblings. The relationship does not have to be fully functional for me to enjoy the book. I always learn something about sisterly interactions and embrace the chance to look back on my own relationship with my sister. I recommend this book to anyone who had or has a sister. 4.5 stars

Not my favorite of the First to Read selections that I have received, but it was better than average.

I enjoyed this story of Lark and her sister Robin. It was entertaining although the characters were sometimes hard to like. It did take awhile to set up the story and I wish the story continued into their lives after the baby was born.


Definitely not a plot driven story but there is a really gorgeous arc that starts in the first few pages and picks back up again at the end in an unexpected way. A beautifully told story that struck me how lonely life can be and the loneliness that we can create ourselves. The characters in this book are deep and reveal themselves effortlessly through the author's words. While I enjoy more plot in my stories, I enjoyed this story immensely and believe these characters will sit with me a while.

This book was disappointing. It spent an enormous amount of time setting up the story. I wish it had spent more time on the back end of the story. I would have loved to have heard more about Lark, Robin and Scottie and how the strange family grew.


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