Darin Strauss Chang and Eng

ISBN 13: 9780452281097

Chang and Eng

3.29 avg rating
( 1,724 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780452281097: Chang and Eng
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

This stunning novel combines fiction with astonishing fact to tell the story of history’s most famous conjoined twins.

Born in Siam in 1811—on a squalid houseboat on the Mekong River—Chang and Eng Bunker were international celebrities before the age of twenty. Touring the world’s stages as a circus act, they settled in the American South just prior to the Civil War. They eventually married two sisters from North Carolina, fathering twenty-one children between them, and lived for more than six decades never more than seven inches apart, attached at the chest by a small band of skin and cartilage.

Woven from the fabric of fact, myth, and imagination, Strauss’s narrative gives poignant, articulate voice to these legendary brothers, and humanizes the freakish legend that grew up around them. Sweeping from the Far East and the court of the King of Siam to the shared intimacy of their lives in America, Chang and Eng rescues one of the nineteenth century’s most fabled human oddities from the sideshow of history, drawing from their extraordinary lives a novel of exceptional power and beauty.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Narrated by Eng, one of a pair of conjoined twins, Chang and Eng is a daring novel that constantly threatens to lose its balance. It's also one that would be hard to believe were it not rigorously grounded in historical fact. Like the (literally) inseparable protagonists of Darin Strauss's debut, Chang and Eng Bunker were born in the early 1800s in a rainy village on the shores of the Mekong Delta. Achieving instant fame as the "Siamese double boy," they toured freak shows throughout China, Europe, and North America. Eventually they settled in North Carolina (of all places), married a pair of sisters, and fathered 21 children between them.

This fictionalized version of their story is narrated by the stronger, more circumspect twin, Eng, who must continually urge Chang to restrain his tears, his burning sexual desires, and his fear of the King of Siam (who has promised to "kill the double-child, the bad omen"). From the beginning, Strauss masterfully delineates the brothers' differences. Yet it's the porous nature of their relationship that will fascinate readers even more. The twins, after all, must always sleep face to face, connected by a fleshy band and the knowledge of their shared monstrosity. The fact that they are neither "he" nor "we" allows the author myriad opportunities for wordplay and psychological riddles. Does Chang love his brother, or does he love himself? When he hates his brother, is it only a piece of himself he is hating? Might the connecting band be its own entity, a pet that the brothers must tend to and feed? When they were children, Eng recalls, the band

was about two inches long, and Chang loved it. He called it Tzon, or ripe banana, and wailed if ever I mentioned severing it. It was more taut then, and would crackle like an old knee when we inched closer or farther apart (no one had any idea the thing would grow with us, and one day allow lateral positioning). I often fidgeted with a stretch of brown leathery skin--a hairy birthmark--midway across it, and also a little brown dot, a charming dinky island that lived, insolently, just free from the shoreline of the larger birthmark.
The novel's agile prose is like a smooth, strong current, pulling the twins away from their awkward lives. To his great credit, Strauss spends very little time dwelling on Chang and Eng as monsters, and their freak-show existence surfaces only in short, painful flashbacks--a jeering interlude that the narrator would sooner forget. And Eng's voice is a compelling one, full of quips, insecurities, and jealousy. Indeed, at some moments he seems like a standard-issue Renaissance man, reading Shakespeare in the afternoon, dreaming about pretty women, recounting his extensive travels. Yet the tragic fact remains: no matter how many countries this cosmopolitan visits, he will never have a room to himself. --Emily White

About the Author:

Darin Strauss is the award-winning author of the national and international bestseller Chang and Eng, as well as its screenplay for Disney Films and director Julie Taymor. His work has been translated into 14 languages, and he teaches at New York University and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Strauss, Darin
Published by Plume
ISBN 10: 0452281091 ISBN 13: 9780452281097
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Mesilla Internet
(Mesilla, NM, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Plume. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0452281091 New. Seller Inventory # Z0452281091ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 4.99
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.48
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Strauss, Darin
Published by Plume (2001)
ISBN 10: 0452281091 ISBN 13: 9780452281097
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Barnes & Nooyen Books
(Spring, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Plume, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. New Condition, Paperback book, Seller Inventory # 1809130017

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 4.98
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.96
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

Strauss, Darin
ISBN 10: 0452281091 ISBN 13: 9780452281097
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2001. PAP. Condition: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IB-9780452281097

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 9.51
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

Strauss, Darin
Published by Plume
ISBN 10: 0452281091 ISBN 13: 9780452281097
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Qwestbooks COM LLC
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Plume. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0452281091. Seller Inventory # Z0452281091ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Strauss, Darin
Published by Plume
ISBN 10: 0452281091 ISBN 13: 9780452281097
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Best Bates
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Plume. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0452281091. Seller Inventory # Z0452281091ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

6.

Strauss, Darin
Published by Plume
ISBN 10: 0452281091 ISBN 13: 9780452281097
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Bookhouse COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Plume. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0452281091. Seller Inventory # Z0452281091ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

7.

Strauss, Darin
Published by Plume
ISBN 10: 0452281091 ISBN 13: 9780452281097
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
BookShop4U
(PHILADELPHIA, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Plume. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0452281091. Seller Inventory # Z0452281091ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

8.

Strauss, Darin
Published by Plume
ISBN 10: 0452281091 ISBN 13: 9780452281097
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Mega Buzz
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Plume. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0452281091. Seller Inventory # Z0452281091ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

9.

Strauss, Darin
Published by Plume
ISBN 10: 0452281091 ISBN 13: 9780452281097
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Booklot COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Plume. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0452281091. Seller Inventory # Z0452281091ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

10.

Strauss, Darin
Published by Plume
ISBN 10: 0452281091 ISBN 13: 9780452281097
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Vital Products COM LLC
(Southampton, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Plume. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0452281091. Seller Inventory # Z0452281091ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book