Jayne Charles's Reviews > 26a. Diana Evans

26a. Diana Evans by Diana Evans
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's review
Jul 24, 2011

liked it

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 that there was a part of him that was a stranger to the world and everything in it, and was therefore supremely incapable of succeeding as a human being'. Brilliant - I sympathised utterly.
The author signals from an early stage the likely outcome of the novel, but in such a way that you aren't entirely sure how it will pan out and want to read on.

Things I didn't like as much - the early chapters where the twins were very young. A personal thing, really, child's-view whimsy ('Girls with umbrellas skipped across the wallpaper and Georgia and Bessi could hear them laughing') tend to have me reaching for the sick bag. The last chapter.....some elements of it were great (JP and his acquisitive whiskers were a particular highlight), but given that most of the novel is rooted firmly in the real world, elements of this final part required the reader to take a step sideways into the metaphysical which I wasn't sure I was ready for. The last chapter also sets out on a headlong rush of events which seems odd given the evidence of the reader's own eye - there are hardly any pages left!

Trying to decide what the overall theme of the novel is - growing up, multi-culturalism, being twins - I have to conclude that it is being twins, though the twins' Nigerian heritage, and the folklore of that country, is an important element of the story. In a way, this made it a little less enjoyable for me as its twinny themes are less relevant to the majority of us who are not twins. I almost defied the blurb on the back - by reaching the very end without shedding a tear. Almost, but not quite.

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