Brandt & Hochman Agency
Published by
Soho Press (2023-07-11)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language
Biography, Literature & Literary studies


A Novel of the Brontës

by Cantor, Rachel

HALF-LIFE OF A STOLEN SISTER is something of a modernized mash-up of historical literary figures like "Anne with An E" or "Enola Homes." It's utterly different and amazing.

HALF-LIFE OF A STOLEN SISTER reimagines the lives of the Brontë siblings * Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and brother Branwell - from their precocious childhoods, to the writing of their great novels, to their early deaths. A form-shattering novel by an author praised as "laugh-out-loud hilarious and thought-provokingly philosophical" (Boston Globe). How did sisters Emily, Charlotte, and Anne write literary landmarks JANE EYRE, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, and AGNES GREY? What in their lives and circumstances, in the choices they made, and in their close but complex relationships with one another made such greatness possible?

In her new novel, Rachel Cantor melds biographical fact with unruly invention to illuminate their genius, their bonds of love and duty, periods of furious creativity, and the ongoing tolls of illness, isolation, and loss. As it tells the story of the Brontës, HALF-LIFE OF A STOLEN SISTER itself perpetually transforms and renews its own style and methods, sometimes hewing close to the facts of the Brontë lives as we know them (or think we know them), and at others radically reimagining the siblings, moving them into new time periods and possibilities.
Chapter by chapter, the novel brings together diaries, letters, home movies, television and radio interviews, deathbed monologues, and fragments from the sprawling invented worlds of siblings' childhood; and as it does so, a kaleidoscopic portrait emerges, giving us with startling intensity and invention new ways of seeing - and reading - the sisters who would create some of the supreme works of literature of all time.

Rachel Cantor is the author of the novels A Highly Unlikely Scenario and Good on Paper. Her short stories have appeared in The Paris Review, One Story, Ninth Letter, and The Kenyon Review, among other publications. Cantor lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Marie Arendt

Available View on Rightsdesk



With humor and heart, Rachel Cantor paints a vivid, multi-voiced picture of the Brontës via a shape-shifting, time-bending tapestry of unforgettable characters and situations. Whether you're a fan of this literary family or not, this book is a must-read for anyone looking for a truly innovative, tender, and humorous take on genius, the creative process, family, and life.

Quote: Marie Myung-Ok Lee, author of The Evening Hero

I was entranced. Through Cantor's virtuosic prose and empathic storytelling, I was drawn into the swirling drama and brilliance of this dysfunctional and ambitious family. I felt each death, each hurt, each creative triumph as my own. By the end, I became one of the Brontës. This hypnotic novel is a masterpiece.

Quote: Sari Wilson, author of Girl Through Glass

A show-stopping retelling of the lives of the Brontë sisters (and brother Branwell) that gleefully shape-shifts the legends we think we know... Cantor's exuberant risk-taking and bottomless compassion for her genius subjects make this book a work of genius in itself.

Quote: Caroline Leavitt, author of With or Without You

Rachel Cantor is among the most exciting, singular novelists of our time and Half-life of a Stolen Sister is her best yet.

Quote: Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year

Long a fan of Cantor's breathtaking synthesis of intellectual brilliance and rare compassion, I am gobsmacked by this novel, and by the steadily building power of what the author herself calls its 'eccentric form.' Playful, doleful, witty, tragic, loving; as a life is all of this at once, so is this magical volume. The Brontës deserve something extraordinary, and Rachel Cantor has given them - and us - exactly that. Brava!

Quote: Robin Black, author of Life Drawing

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