Fiction Marcy Dermansky Twins: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780060759780

Twins: A Novel

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9780060759780: Twins: A Novel

A quirky and disturbingly comic first novel about identical twin sisters trying to make it to eighteen in affluent New Jersey, from an award–winning short story writer.

Told in alternating voices, Twins is the heartfelt and unsettlingly honest story of identical twin sisters on an epic journey to survive their difficult adolescence.

Sue, younger by four long minutes, idolizes the seemingly perfect Chloe. Although they look the same, Sue thinks of her twin as prettier, smarter, better. For this Sue torments herself, and in the process, with her caustic wit, she torments Chloe. The sisters' parents, divorce lawyers, trust the girls to grow up on their own; their older brother Daniel treats them with contempt; and Daisy, the family's standard poodle, needs more love and care than the girls can deliver.

On their thirteenth birthday, the sisters get tattoos to prove their love is stronger than DNA, but instead, they continue to grow apart. When Chloe befriends Lisa Markman, an aspiring model and the daughter of a famous basketball player, the careful, strained peace between the sisters erupts into a violent climax.

Over the course of five years, the twins survive heartbreak, unhappy Hawaiian vacations, parental neglect, eating disorders, pill abuse, and the first painful explorations of love and sex. As they try to keep their hold in the ever–confusing world they inhabit, both Chloe and Sue reach out to new mentors who help them understand the complex connection they have to the world, and to each other.

Surrounded by an eclectic cast of characters, including the selfish Japanese sculptor Yumiko, a young Indian writer named Smita, and former Knicks player Rodney Markman, the twin sisters attempt to overcome apathy and despair to redeem each other.

At times funny, bitter, and affecting, Twins introduces two new suburban heroines on the verge, and a talented new author to watch.

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About the Author:

Marcy Dermansky is a MacDowell Fellow and the winner of the 2002 Smallmouth Press Andre Dubus Novella Award and the 1999 Story magazine’s Carson McCullers short story prize. Her stories have been published in numerous literary journals, including McSweeney’s, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Indiana Review. Dermansky is a film critic for About.com and lives in Astoria, New York.

From Publishers Weekly:

Two teenagers struggle with identity and self-determination in Dermansky's entertaining debut.To the casual observer, twins Chloe and Sue are exactly the same—even their father mixes them up sometimes. Of course, Chloe understands that they're very different people, but Sue wants nothing more than to be one with Chloe, whom she's convinced is prettier, smarter and nicer. The chapters alternate between the voices of Sue and Chloe, moving quickly but seamlessly through their high school years with their attendant dramas and tragedies. It feels primarily like Sue's story, though, because it is her desire to hold on to her perfect intimacy with Chloe that sets the plot in motion. And it is Sue's voice—variously deadpan, yearning, and frequently repetitive to good effect—that carries most of the novel's emotional weight. (Though Chloe has her moments: "I did everything for Sue. She needed me as if I were the oxygen she breathed, but she didn't understand what it cost me.") While some aspects of the tale seem unlikely (the twins' blithely neglectful parents and extremely generous friends, for example), this is balanced by an overarching fable-like quality to this moving and well-written story of two girls learning to accept who they are.
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