Sunday, November 9, 2008

26a by Diana Evans

This is a story of twins in a mixed racial family. They live at 26a Waifer Avenue in Neasden, UK. It is about the twoness in oneness of twins. Bessi is physical. Georgia is mental.

Their mother, Ida sustains a long distance communication with her mother’s spirit. Their older sister, Bel, has psychic powers and can foretell the future.

Their father Aubrey is characterized as a repressed male animal. Surrounded by females at home, he is transformed by his friend Jack Daniels into Mister Hyde, who uses his daughter as scapegoats. He complains that he has worked for thirty years and this is the thanks he gets. When he goes beyond the limit, his wife takes a knife to him and establishes an uneasy peace.

Georgia is not of this world and is too frightened by cockroaches and the colors, red and orange. Yellow is good. She becomes increasingly difficult to understand as she descends into disordered thinking. She never learns to exist alone until a year after her death. In the process, she disrupts Bessi’s independence and hold on reality.

Georgia’s possession of Bessi parallels the story of Ode in Onia, a folk tale of evil twins told by their Nigerian grandfather during their interlude in Nigeria. While in Nigeria, Georgia is sexually assaulted by Sedrick, the security guard at the villa. It is not clear how far the assault goes before it is interrupted by her older sister. There are fewer details than were given in an incident where a cockroach landed on Georgia in the garden and she had to be rescued. Georgia packs her traumatic experiences away, as if by imprisoning, she can keep them from haunting her. It only serves to make them more frightening and builds a barrier between her and the real world. She drifts further into the supernatural until she has to escape to an afterlife. She would have been more content among mortals if she had exorcised her demons.

Bessi and Georgia change. Bessi becomes more of this world. Georgia withdraws. Georgia tries to shield Bessi from the dark fears by keeping it all within. It is never clear if there was a pivotal event that led to Georgia’s eventual swaying and spinning danse macabre. It could just as well have been the premature collapse of the twins dream of a fabulous flapjack empire. After she leaves her body, she has no qualms about possessing Bessi’s. Bessi gives her the right half.
26a: A Novel (P.S.)
By: Diana Evans
Amazon Price: $13.95


Amanda said...

Okay, this is the most bizarre description for a book I've read in awhile John. Or maybe it's a description of the most bizarre book I've heard of in awhile. Either way, it's weird. did you enjoy it?

Booger said...

The writing was poetic. It starts with two frightened animals making a dash across a highway in the dark, seeing the lights of the oncoming vehicle and being splattered on the pavement to wake in the stainless steel, blue draped and electric lighted world of a hospital delivery room. This is a metaphor for the birth of the twins. There is much magical thinking. It ends with the spirit of Georgia pulling herself into the body of Bessi by using her twin sister's rib cage as a ladder. They live, Georgia in Bessi for a year. It ends, when it is time for Georgia to move on. I let the writer's style pull me into the mindset of the novel while I wrote the review. That's why it is bizarre. I don't know if the word enjoy is relevant to this story. If you want to be immersed in magical thinking, it will be a rewarding experience.