Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Promised World by Lisa Tucker

Jill from Breaking the Spine said she put down this book because it was too intense. I understand her completely. I wanted to enjoy this book as it is about boy girl twins, and I am obsessed with twins (I am one myself). I have only read one other book about boy-girl twins and the unique relationship. I purchased it in Australia, it was written by a New Zealander and it was borderline strange (the girl dressed like a boy and later it was revealed she was gay).

This novel was beguiling and intriguing but it also detailed the sort of story that makes you want to look away and not turn back. The protagonist is an English professor in Philadelphia. As a female twin and compulsive reader who studied English in Philly I felt a kinship towards her. But her relationship with her twin is something else entirely. There is a reverence in their relationship that confuses all of the individuals around them. Together they escaped a traumatic childhood. The story begins with Lila Cole learning of her brother’s death. The cause of death was suicide by police (I will leave you to figure out that for yourself). After her brother’s death Lila is consumed by grief and depression, her marriage is challenged, and her niece and nephew (her brother Billy's children) are suffering as well. The traumatic events pile up one after the other and it is a lot for a reader to take.

In the end, the reader gains closure, and yet there is still so much lingering trauma. There isn’t much really conveyed in this story about the relationship between twins; it is much more focused on living through childhood trauma and abuse.

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