Twinship: A Novel by the Author of Ex Utero

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9780151004171: Twinship: A Novel by the Author of Ex Utero
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Long before Dolly the sheep, there were Maxi, Minnie, and a clone called Middle. Maxi Dublin, a cat breeder, is thirty-four, single, and pregnant. She and her mother have been preparing for the birth of Maxi's first child for months, years even. But when the day arrives, something goes horribly wrong. Instead of delivering a healthy newborn, Maxi gives birth to herself-a clone. In the medical world Maxi becomes a cause c?l bre. But when her controlling, eccentric mother, Minnie, kidnaps the clone, all hell breaks loose. The doctors threaten Maxi with lawsuits, the media goes into a feeding frenzy, and the entire nation waits for the latest Maxi, Minnie, and Middle news. Angry but inspired, Maxi enlists the help of Cecilia, a clairvoyant therapist with an uncanny ability to impersonate the Duchess of York. Together they hit the road in hot pursuit of Minnie, so that Maxi can once and for all find . . . herself.

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Review:

In the final accounting of cultural merit, the insanely serious and seriously insane work of Laurie Foos will no doubt sit somewhere between Greek mythology and The Sally Jesse Raphael Show, with Freud's Interpretation of Dreams well within shouting distance. Earmarked as Foos's watershed novel, Twinship is a fine third brick in the foundation of an only-slightly-weirder-than-real-life literary tower. She isn't as interested in art as she was in her second novel, but has widened her focus a bit to encompass creation, biological and otherwise.

Like the protagonist of her 1995 debut, who loses her uterus in a shopping mall and wonders if this is karmic punishment for her ambivalence toward motherhood, Twinship's narrator also views her current predicament through a thick veil of guilt. Maxi Dublin, a childless, unmarried, 34-year-old Persian cat breeder, finally submits to her mother Minnie's tsunami-force will and gets herself pregnant. Alas, she fulfills Minnie's wishes a little too well, giving birth not to a baby but to herself--a clone who brings new meaning to the old standard "Don't they grow up fast?" To complicate already complicated matters, Minnie steals the clone out from under both Maxi and the research-dollar-signs-in-their-eyes hospital staff. Maxi has no choice but to enlist the help of a Fergie-impersonating psychotherapist to find her mother, her baby, and herself. Pun intended.

Foos is wonderfully adept at fully exploring the emotional cat's cradle associated with giving birth, and yet she does it with enough humor that the members of an entire gender won't scratch their heads, feeling like a bunch of stupid, bored guys. Her style is a testament to the subversive power of cartoons: tug reality by its edges and the truth tends to rise from the center. --Bob Michaels

About the Author:

Laurie Foos is the author of Ex Utero and Portrait of the Walrus by a Young Artist. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College, where she was awarded a MacArthur Scholarship for fiction. She has taught writing at Bentley College and at writers' workshops across the country. She lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

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