Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Double Trouble: Twins in Literature

Lottie and Lisa by Erich Kästner
Lottie & Lisa
Erich Kästner

It’s amazing how many novelists use twins as key characters in their books or attempt to explore the complex relationships between twins in their plots.

Romulus and Remus, Artemis and Apollo, and Castor and Pollux have long been left behind in history and mythology. In recent decades, there have been numerous novels featuring identical twins, evil twins, separated at birth twins, warring twins, twin sleuths, imprisoned twins, twins that are not twins and so on.

To novelists, twins can be very bad, very misunderstood, very mysterious and sometimes badly mistreated. In fact, it would be fair to argue that twins get a bad rap from most writers.

One thing is clear - twins are never dull in literature. Audrey Niffenegger, Wally Lamb, Pat Conroy, Arundhati Roy, V.C. Andrews and Madeleine L’Engle are just a few of the authors to have turned to twins.

This mostly dark selection of twin-themed books does not include the Bobbsey Twins and other gentle interpretations of twin life.

If you're a twin, tell us about your reading habits. Do authors represent twins fairly in literature? Do you share the same taste in books as your twin? Email us.

1 comment:

iris horton said...

thanks for posting this as a guide to some twin books! I am currently writing a book exploring twins set in a dystopic future. Keen to get lists of twin books. Which of Madeleine L'Engels books features twins?
Catherine Fargher