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3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  845 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
Identical twins, Georgia and Bessi, live in the loft of 26 Waifer Avenue. It is a place of beanbags, nectarines and secrets, and visitors must always knock before entering. Down below there is not such harmony. Their Nigerian mother puts cayenne pepper on her Yorkshire pudding and has mysterious ways of dealing with homesickness; their father angrily roams the streets of N ...more
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published September 6th 2005 by William Morrow (first published August 30th 2005)
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Feb 10, 2011 Nancy rated it it was ok
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
Apr 17, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 11, 2013 Edwina Hall Callan rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-book, 2013
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
Mar 15, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
Aug 02, 2007 Joanne rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 09, 2008 Shea rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 31, 2010 reqbat rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Couldn't get into this, really did not like her voice/style at all.
Melissa Andrews
Dec 02, 2008 Melissa Andrews rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sonia Gomes
Dec 26, 2009 Sonia Gomes rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Found this book depressing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sara Rines
Jun 19, 2011 Sara Rines rated it it was ok
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.
Feb 25, 2008 Sylvia rated it liked it
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.
Mar 14, 2015 Emi rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 05, 2017 Leslie rated it liked it
weak story didn't keep my was a blah, blah blah story!
Ain Ashura
Feb 26, 2017 Ain Ashura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-books
Worst blurb ever. The story is nothing like the blurb!
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
Jeanne Boudreau
Mar 14, 2017 Jeanne Boudreau rated it liked it
Twins, sharing everything,completing each other. A devastating event changes what they share with each other. Can they live independent of each other, or dies it take them both to make the "twoness".
Aug 10, 2016 Faizan rated it really liked it
The book is a sad one. A great debut novel by Diana Evans. Love the dark wood writing style. Dark wood is what I was imagining while I was reading it.

I am in condition of writing the review of this book.
It started slow, but then I realized that it is gonna be at that speed to the end. So I started enjoying it, once I get all characters.
Well, if I talk about the story, I liked it.
It is a story of twins. Georgia and Bessi.
The family is on the verge of collapsing. The divorced seem inevitable but
Georgia and Bessie are identical twins. Born into a hectic, loving Nigerian-British family, they share intimacies and nectarines on the attic beanbags at 26a. Precocious older sister, Bel, and little Michael-Jackson-fan Kemy complete the quartet of Hunter sisters growing up in Neasden. There is a magical quality to this novel prompted by a rich Nigerian folklore. The twins hover between worlds – between their father, Aubrey’s, repressed anger and mother, Ida’s, copious use of cayenne pepper; bet ...more
Simrit Singh
Apr 13, 2012 Simrit Singh rated it liked it
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
Feb 12, 2017 Genna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a lovely book, well written with some beautiful phrases. I liked all of the four sisters - who bore a passing resemblance to Little Women - from tomboy/outspoken Kemy (Jo), grown-up/sensible Bel (Meg), slightly superficial and outgoing Bessi (Amy) to quiet, withdrawn Georgie (Beth). The sisters in this story as with Little Women really "make" the family as both parents are somewhat distant from the family unit - Mum, Ida, always longing for her homeland of Nigeria and dad, Aub ...more
Jul 30, 2013 Jane rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 09, 2011 Jeruen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 18, 2011 Hanna Fawcett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
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
Christine Cook
Feb 28, 2015 Christine Cook rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 16, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was taken with this book from page 1 with the two furry creatures scurrying through the undergrowth, being killed by a car and entering the world as the twins George and Bessie, who just don't belong. And who just can't tell if they are one or two. But they are not the only siblings in the family, there is also an older sister and a younger sister and the relationships between the four is comes across as heartbreakingly beautiful, as they grow up in a dysfunctional family, but nonetheless a fa ...more
Martin Roberts
Dec 19, 2016 Martin Roberts rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I gave up after struggling with 60 pages of banal reminiscences told as if by a half-wit rather than the voice of a magical, lost childhood, as the hype on the back cover would have us believe.
Lisa Stewart
Dec 19, 2016 Lisa Stewart rated it really liked it
A beautiful book, that takes you through twenty five years and every possible emotion.
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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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“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.” 3 likes
“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
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