26a by Diana Evans

· culture ·


This was one of those spur-of-the-moment purchases, made while I was waiting for a train to go to Bristol, but I'm very glad I picked it up. I'd never heard of the book (despite it being an Orange Prize winner), nor the author, but it's a wonderfully rewarding read. The story centres around identical twin girls, Georgia and Bessi, who live in Neasden with their Yorkshire father, Nigerian mother and two other sisters.

It's very funny in places, with touches of magical realism which sat very comfortably in the story. I've often found other magical realist books somewhat irritating or jarring, but here it seemed to fit perfectly with the rather otherworldly feeling that twins have about them. They create their own internal Universe to some extent, from which others are excluded. It's also harrowingly moving. I don't want to give away any of the plot, but if you read this in a public place as I did (particularly towards the end), be prepared to have a strategy for covering up your tears. It's one of those books that will stick with me for a long time.