Here's one way a first novelist can avoid the proverbial sophomore slump: Follow up your debut bestseller — "The Time Traveler's Wife,"...

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Here’s one way a first novelist can avoid the proverbial sophomore slump: Follow up your debut bestseller — “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” in Audrey Niffenegger’s case — with a “novel in pictures.”

The text in “The Three Incestuous Sisters” (Abrams, 176 pp., $27.95) amounts to only a word or two per page. The bulk of the tale’s content is conveyed through Niffenegger’s striking aquatints. The gothic tale involves three sisters who all fall, disastrously, for the same man. Story components include jealousy, murder, hauntings, mistaken identity, suicide, psychic communion and career changes.

You can “read” the book in five minutes or less, which may make some readers wonder if they’re getting their money’s worth. Still, it’s a lovely thing to have around the house, handsomely designed and produced, and morbid enough to feel right at home in the approaching Halloween season.

The author discusses “The Three Incestuous Sisters,” 5:30 p.m. next Sunday, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, free (206-366-3333 or www.thirdplacebooks.com); and 7:30 p.m., Oct. 3, Elliott Bay Book Co., Seattle, free (206-624-6600 or www.elliottbaybook.com).

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Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times book critic