Cover image for Fanny and Sue : a novel
Fanny and Sue : a novel
Stolz, Karen.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion, [2003]

Physical Description:
239 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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When Karen Stolz's World of Pies was published two years ago, readers and critics alike savored every delicious word. Now Stolz returns to themes of childhood and coming of age in a poignant novel about twin sisters. In beautifully rendered detail, Stolz reveals the pleasure of freshly laundered dresses and homemade fudge, the terror of childhood illness and quarrels, and the magical connection that only twins possess.

Set against the backdrop of St. Louis during the Great Depression, twins Fanny and Sue tell their charming story in alternating voices. Infused with humor and warmth, Stolz's latest novel is certain to charm readers eager to experience life the way it used to be.

Author Notes

Karen Stolz's first novel, World of Pies, was a Booksense Selection. Stolz is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and was awarded a 1999 Fiction Fellowship from the Austin Writers' League/Texas Commission on the Arts. Born in St. Louis and raised in Kansas, she lives in Austin, Texas, with her son.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Kiss, kiss, kiss, it was a new year, with new hopes and dreams and fudge too," chirps one of the child narrators of Stolz's second novel (after World of Pies), an affectionate portrait of Depression-era Midwestern life marred by sticky-sweet sentimentality. Identical twin sisters, for whom the novel is named, take turns narrating chapters that span their school years in St. Louis with their warm, spirited parents and little brother, Baby Bob. Their world is full of hobos, streetcars, soda fountains and the terror of polio, but there isn't much depth behind these well-drawn set pieces. The major events of the novel-Fanny burns her arm on the stove; their mother miscarries; the girls assume each other's identities in pursuit of the same boy; Sue's boyfriend moves to Chicago; their uncle loses his job and his home-are generally resolved within a chapter or two, and there are few lasting repercussions or character transformations. The relentlessly cheerful tone makes Sue's recovery from scarlet fever seem no more significant than Fanny's victory at a roller-skating marathon. Stolz's effort to render the inner world of children and teenagers relies primarily on using limited vocabulary and scores of exclamation points to express constant enthusiasm. While the prose style does evoke a child's voice ("I couldn't stop crying. Rosalyn died.... Why would this happen? I did not want to know something like this could happen.... It was hard for me to understand why children would ever die"), it allows for few psychological insights. Die-hard nostalgics may get a kick out of this syrupy frolic, but those looking for emotional range should steer clear. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved