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26a. Diana Evans

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  711 ratings  ·  83 reviews
A hauntingly beautiful, wickedly funny, and devastatingly moving novel of innocence and dreams that announces the arrival of a major new talent to the literary scene

In the attic room at 26 Waifer Avenue, identical twins Georgia and Bessi Hunter share nectarines and forge their identities, while escaping from the sadness and danger that inhabit the floors below. But innocen
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Vintage Books USA (first published August 30th 2005)
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Disappointing. This is the second Orange Award book I have read, and I'm starting to wonder if my literary tastes are simply so American than I cannot share a British literary sensibility.

This dreamy, half-magical/half-brutal novel follows identical twins Bessi and Georgia from pre-birth to young adulthood. 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. Evans is a
It's always kind of an adventure to buy books from a rummage table because you never know what to expect.
This time I got a book about twins, their special bond, depression, family, wanderlust and some supernatural.
This book is written beautifully and I liked the way the depressions got described, especially by using colours and how the author used Mr. Hyde when talking about the dad's alcoholism.
The ending was a bummer but still it felt right somehow. Like there couldn't be another ending for
Apr 17, 2008 Jennifer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone....especially women
This book carried me through every possible emotion. I loved it. It follows the lives of a family made up of a white, British father, an African mother who has emigrated to England, and their biracial daughters: an eldest sister, twin middle sisters, and a youngest sister. The story focuses on the twins and their struggles, observations of the world around them, and the secrets of their inner world. Even though they're the focus, the author exposes the strengths, fears, and vulnerabilities of ea ...more
Edwina Hall Callan
I loved the first half of this book and was all set to give a 5 star review, but then the author decided to jump on the crazy train and derailed herself and, sad to say, the second half of the book. She had done such an excellent job developing all of the characters and then, without warning, the book just starts to spin out of control. And, the ending ... what was that quick wrap-it-all-up-in-a-hurry ending all about ? Unless you enjoy books with really lame endings, I suggest you skip this boo ...more
Well-written book about the relationship of very different twin girls growing up in England in the '80s. They live with parents from different cultures (English and African)and younger sisters. I enjoyed this book a lot; felt empathy for all.
Mar 07, 2008 Shea rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shea by: Pami
Hard to believe that this is Diana Evans first book. Her writing is beautiful and poetic without being pretentious. Excellent.
Melissa Andrews
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sonia Gomes
Jan 04, 2010 Sonia Gomes rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Found this book depressing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gin Jenny (Reading the End)
This review first appeared on

Okay, it’s official. I have never, not ever, encountered a Nigerian or Nigerian-descended author who has never written about twins. If you have, drop a note in the comments. Twins are permanent residents of the Nigerian imagination. I like this fact. (In case you are not a podcast listener, Nigerians also have more twins. Than anyone else! We don’t know why, but it’s true, and it remains true even when IVF and other such things increase rate
Lola Allen
Yes, I agree that this book could have ended better (due to the fact that I bonded so well with the characters) but this does not take away from the fact that it's a really good read.

What I really admire about this writer, is that this book is based on a true story and real events, which makes it all the more poignant. I've never been to Neasden before, but her descriptions of the area were were visual and visceral. I particularly enjoyed the part where she flashbacks to their childhood and spo
I tried, but it's not the book for me and it's not even the inaccuracies of Nigerian existent that did my head in.
I struggled with it at first, but then it got better and better as I went along. I cried while reading the "See you Monday" chapter. I found the difficulties and problems in the family interesting and it made me think. It was hard to follow sometimes because the perspective changes, there are many characters to pay attention to that seem to have a cameo, or the subject seems to be so random(colors) and is explained later as you go along. Overall, it was a story with much more feeling and intensi ...more
Christine Cook
This book examines the complex sibling relationship between identical twins Bessie and Georgia growing up in North London with their siblings and Nigerian/British parents.

The story starts in the late 1970s when the girls are still very young. I didn't enjoy the early chapters, this part of the book is written from the perspective of the child which I don't generally like. It's whimsical and dull at times (I'm really not interested in a pet hamster!). I considered abandoning the book at this poin
Sara Rines
This started interestingly enough...twins that seemed joined from a past life. But it quickly derailed into non-stop, depressing, life-altering tragedies. It WAS well written, despite the authors intentional use of poor grammar (London and Nigerian accents). But the ending was meaningless, and I am annoyed for wasting my time.
Well I am left having read this book and still not knowing if I enjoyed it or not? Glad I read it, however not at all what I expected from the synopsis! It starts off as an enjoyable and amusing read but personally I found as it progressed that it became rather a sinister story.
Fascinating and deeply disturbing at the same time. Very intense and very important for me to go deep into the details of emotional pain, dark fears and the inability to continue living.
Couldn't get into this, really did not like her voice/style at all.
Jayne Charles
There was a lot of skilled writing in this book, particularly the middle sections when the twins were in their teens - I particularly loved the forced 'coolness' of the two suitors Errol and Dean ('What ya sayin'' !!!), and the evocation of Nigeria was impressive too. I also admired the way the author very subtly showed the differences between the twins - hardly any at first, and gradually widening to a gulf. They were set within a believable family - their father Aubrey 'had come to realise tha ...more
Simrit Singh
26a is a story set in Neasden, London about a mixed race family. The father is an Englishman and the mother a Nigerian woman. They have four daughters Bel, Georgia & Bessi (identical twins) and Kenny, the youngest. The main storyline revolves around the twins.

The story begins when the twins are about 9 years old, they live in the loft of their house at 26 Waifer Avenue. They name the loft 26a, hence the title. Georgia and Bessi are both regular pre-adolescent girls, with an amazing bond. Th
I do not know how to process this novel. Perhaps, I could summarize my feeling about this as blah. Yeah, just like that.

So the story is about this family. The mother is Nigerian, and the father is English. They had four daughters, Isabel, Bessi, Georgia, and Kemy. Bessi and Georgia are twins, and the story narrates their lives from toddler years to when they turn 25.

Sure, life can be funny at times. You laugh at the weird sense of logic that little children look at their surroundings, and this b
Hanna Fawcett
There are a lot of books that I love, but if I was pushed to choose a favourite, I think this would be it. I came across it while on holiday in a cottage in Durness, left behind by a previous guest, and despite the stunning highland views and the gorgeous beach, this book kept me occupied for the majority of the week. I must have read it seven or eight times over the course of the holiday and each time I did, I marvelled at the relationship between Bessie and Georgia, bound together in the unpen ...more
A truly poignant and beautiful tale from Diana Evans. An excellent debut and worthy winner of the Orange prize and being short-listed for the Whitbread First Novel Award. This is not a new book having been published in 2005 and sat on my shelf for far too long. Ms Evans has gone on to write The Wonder which I have also read and enjoyed.

We are given insight into the backgrounds of Aubrey and Ida the parents in this story. Aubrey, a sensitive boy, like his mother in character, feels an outsider wi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Enjoyed this book ALOT...until the end. The writer's style reminds me alot of Toni Morrison, minus the tons of symbolism and confusion. I was not shocked to learn that the author loves Prof. Morrison and used to be a poet. Her influences are seen throughout her writing.

Her subject was extremely interesting: how do twins cope with separation?

I loved the story until I reached the 13th chapter, "See You Monday". Very confusing, and from there it was a downward spiral of sadness, confusion and lengt
This was a typical teen book...nothing challenging here. An interesting look at the relationship between twins and the world they create together. The book follows many years of the twins’ life and the way they relate to their family throughout. A raw, honest look into the coming of age of girls who don’t know how to be ‘one’ person. I found it interesting how the things that matter most to Georgia and Bessi did or didn’t stay with them throughout the book – until they’re 25. We learn how twins ...more
Amo Ramela
What a writer this woman is you can tell by the diction of words that she is a gifted writer.

This is a second book I get to read on twins and I can sort of relate.

Diana Evans brings closer the connection between twins and how close their souls are.
Almost like the other is literally the half of the other and we directly feel that in 26a wherein Georgia has to almost carry the burden of her twin sister while she carries on happy with her life.

The revelation of twins life is in actual fact more c
Sarah Jenkins
A book I've had on my bookshelf for a long time - I think I picked it up as a summer read at some point. Not really sure what I thought of it - I wasn't particularly motivated to read it - put it down and picked it up several times - but I did get to the end eventually - lots of issues covered by the book - not the light hearted read I'd expected.
I really, really, really wanted to like this book, as it covers so many important topics: suicide, depression, child abuse, etc... but the writing was simply so... incomprehensible at times, with excessive reference to spiritual things without explanation, switching from various points of view (in the concluding chapter(s)) without actual transitions, & random references to some fantasy world throughout the book, without, again, transitions. I will say that the exploration of The Nigerian cu ...more
Lise Dahl
Absolutely amazing book. The way Evans articulates and frames events without overdoing it is breathtaking. She drags you into the story, so far into it, that you slight into the Hunter family. You are a part of it - all their joys and sorrows becomes yours. Captivating and beautiful!
Lyrical, poetic prose combined with sweet, sentimental characters made this book a great read for me. An English family comprised of a white husband, his African wife and their four daughters, is seamlessly blended with reality and the fantastic worlds inside the minds of children. Twins, Georgia and Bessie, are bound from birth with their sharing of emotions. However, an event that occurs while the family is in Africa changes Georgia forever and leaves her unable to escape a darkness that threa ...more
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Diana Evans was born in London and spent part of her childhood in Lagos, Nigeria. She studied Media Studies at the University of Sussex and was a dancer in the Brighton-based troupe Mashango before becoming a journalist and author. She has written features and criticism for Marie Claire, the Independent, the Observer, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Source, Time Out, the Stage and Harper’s Bazaar ...more
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“Georgia had felt the colours and the rain, but she would not miss here. And there was something lost. The now-ness of things. It was not pretty.” 2 likes
“For home had a way of shifting, of changing shape and temperature. Home was homeless. It could exist anywhere, because its only substance was familiarity. If it was broken by long journeys or tornadoes it emerged again, reinvented itself with new decor, new idiosyncrasies of morning, noon and dusk, and old routines.” 2 likes
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