The books editor of Blogcritics asked some of us for our book of the year. The whole list is here. Here’s my pick:
This was a tough call, since Anne Tyler is one of my favourite writers and released a book this year, but I’m going to go with Lori Lansens’ The Girls. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book about conjoined twins, but I found myself sucked into a life story I had to force myself to remember was fiction, and felt like I’d lost a friend when I finished reading it. It’s mostly told from the perspective of Rose Darlen, with occasional chapters from her sister Ruby, with whom she’s joined at the head. Lansens makes these women both astonishingly real people and a metaphor for the distance that separates us and the bonds that unite us. It’s fascinating, poignant, funny and beautifully written. The two sisters have vastly different writing styles, and the structure forces us to travel along with Rose’s version of her life until Ruby gives us context we’re missing and forces us to re-examine Rose’s tale.
In a strange case of synchronicity, days after I read and reviewed the book, a woman in BC was reported to be pregnant with twins joined at the head. Conjoined twins are rare, but craniopagus twins (see, I learned a new word from the book and now I can use it in a sentence) are incredibly rare. The woman’s since given birth and the real-life twins – girls – just went home for the holidays.