26a. By Diana Evans. pp. William Morrow. $ IT didn’t occur to me that my parents belonged to different races until I was 12 years old. Diana Evans’s very enjoyable debut novel begins with death. Michael Jackson, and the twins have their own world – 26a – up in the attic. Summary and reviews of 26a by Diana Evans, plus links to a book excerpt from 26a and author biography of Diana Evans.
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And this may be slightly unfair, because I gather the author is herself a twin and may be drawing on real experience. On a trip to Nigeria, one of the twins, is nearly raped by their watchman.
Georgia sat back in her chair and her heels lifted off the floor.
26a. Diana Evans
But the gap widens after a trip to Nigeria, where guavas displace apples, and the twins discover that “home was homeless. I needed you to be my sunlight, Bessi,’ and here George paused and her words became very small, ‘I lost mine, I lost it. Much about the story made me smile, the main characters were warm and believable, and a fair bit made me sad too.
Yet as the story darkens, it illuminates not only the nature of twins, but the universal quest for both mirroring affirmation and individuality, the perils of solitude and fragmentation, and the transcendence of all separation and loss.
I started out really enjoying this book, but I never get on well with magical realism. You smash it to the floor.
Homesick Ida converses with her absent mother, while drunken Aubrey mutates into his own Mr Hyde. Unless you enjoy books with really lame endings, I suggest you skip this book. It WAS well written, despite the authors intentional use of poor grammar London and Nigerian accents.
evqns Ida’s comment – “That’s Georgia” – was right on. Though Evans lost her twin in adulthood, the novel is beyond fictionalised autobiography in its echoing exploration of other “couples” and doubles, whether spouses, lovers, or parents and children.
Two into one
The novel traces the parents’ meeting in Lagos. Our main characters, dixna sometimes too-cute-to-be-true twins, grow up between London and Nigeria in a seemingly happy family.
A novel about being twins grows stealthily, movingly, into one about being human. How can I make it die? I was plowing through the book just to get it over with, when I realized that I was really engaged with the story again.
From the very beginning of Evan’s first novel winner of Britain’s inaugural Orange Award for New Writersreaders know they’re in for something rich and strange. If you have, drop a note in the comments. The Hunters seldom venture past Kilburn, content with Riana Gladstone park and to watch the wedding of Charles and Di on television, scraping their ice-cream bowls “so that the Hunters became an orchestra”.
I also liked the way Mr. She completed a Media Studies degree at the University of Sussex. Not for everyone, but certainly glad that I continued to the end. This is a funny, haunting, marvelous debut.
26a. Diana Evans by Diana Evans
Well I am left having read this book and still not knowing evajs I enjoyed it or not? It’s always kind of an adventure to buy books from a rummage table because you never know what to expect. When the twins are eight, the family takes a three-year sojourn dana Nigeria, where they live a relatively grander life “We had servants,” Bessi later bragsbut where Georgia has a terrifying run-in with a “ju-ju man” that changes her.
Well-written book about the relationship of very different twin girls growing up in England in the ’80s. I loved the mystical core of the story which was well written and captured in a time and place in the UK and Nigeria that was evqns to me as Canadian-Irish. The oldest is Bel, Mystic Bel, who has true dreams; then come the twins, Bessi and Georgia, who do everything together; and finally the youngest, little Kemy.
Review: 26a by Diana Evans | Books | The Guardian
dinaa Evans skilfully explores the twin bond using a perfect blend of magical realism. Her twin sister, Bessi, does not have the same shadow in her that Georgia has, and happiness seems to come to her naturally.
But as Bessi strikes out on her own, revelling under St Lucia’s twin Pitons, Georgia’s svans swing in vivid colour, from benign “yellow” days to dangerous “red” ones. If, like me, you listen to the audio version, you may cry in the street or on the train.
Their twin-bond is so powerful that it creates an idiosyncratic universe shared only by two; a source of joy and wonder at first, but later an increasing source of pain and wounds. Their minute differences grow under others’ scrutiny, making the “fatter, quieter” Georgia diet and gabble to compensate.