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I picked this book up from my local library a couple of weeks ago. What attracted me to it was the fact that it was written about a family living in London, and I liked being able to read the names of places and think 'oh I know where that is!'
The book is called '26a', which is the number of the flat that a mixed Nigerian/White family live in, which is located in North-West London. It is written by Diana Evans and was first published in 2005.
The family that live in 26a is made up of identical twins Georgia and Bessi, their big sister Bel, little sister Kemy and their Nigerian mother and British-born white father. The story of the family spans over the 1980s and 1990s.
The book focuses mainly on the twins Georgia and Bessi and it is the characterisation of the two girls that is the deepest. We see life through their eyes and the narration of the book develops as the two twins' age. For example, the narration is quite childlike at the start of the book when the twins are very young. By the end of the book, the narration is much more mature and grown up, in order to reflect the maturity of Georgia and Bessi.
Whilst I thought that the development in the narration was quite clever, I didn't like the writing style completely. At times it seemed as though no form of punctuation was being followed. I understand however that perhaps this was suited to the story and added to the character development of each twin.
Georgia and Bessi are very different to each other. Although they are identical twins, they like different things, behave differently, and have differing dreams from one another. Georgia is the more vulnerable and introverted twin and it is her character that I felt was described in a little more depth than Bessi's.
Through the course of the story, we see how the differing dreams of Georgia and Bessi take them on different paths. The way that their lives do pan out is actually quite heart-breaking. Without ruining the story for anyone who does want to read the book, I will say that I was close to tears at one point. The relationship between Georgia and Bessi was very strong, despite their differing thoughts on life.
The book was not overly long; all in all it was 277 pages. In terms of its length, it was probably just about right. I read it in around a week, but that was only with me having around 30-60 minutes of reading time each day.
You can buy this from Amazon (new) for £8.44 or (used) for £0.01. There are also collectible versions available for over £10.
Additional info: '26a' was the winner of the Orange Award for new writers in 2005.
Thanks for reading.