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The Twins by Saskia Sarginson, Chapter One

The Twins by Saskia Sarginson, Chapter One

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Published by Little Brown UK
They were identical in every way
Until the unthinkable tore them apart

Isolte and Viola are twins. Inseparable as children, they've grown into very different adults: Isolte, a successful features writer for a fashion magazine with a photographer boyfriend and a flat in London, and Viola, desperately unhappy and struggling with a lifelong eating disorder.

What happened all those years ago to set the twins on such different paths to adulthood? As both women start to unravel the escalating tragedies of a half-remembered summer, terrifying secrets from the past come rushing back - and threaten to overwhelm their adult lives...
They were identical in every way
Until the unthinkable tore them apart

Isolte and Viola are twins. Inseparable as children, they've grown into very different adults: Isolte, a successful features writer for a fashion magazine with a photographer boyfriend and a flat in London, and Viola, desperately unhappy and struggling with a lifelong eating disorder.

What happened all those years ago to set the twins on such different paths to adulthood? As both women start to unravel the escalating tragedies of a half-remembered summer, terrifying secrets from the past come rushing back - and threaten to overwhelm their adult lives...

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Published by: Little Brown UK on Feb 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/21/2013

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1
We weren’t always twins. We used to be just one person.The story of our conception was the ordinary kind they tell youabout in biology lessons. You know how it goes: an athletic spermhits the egg target and new life forms.So there we were, a single ho-hum baby in the making. Thencomes the extraordinary part, because that one egg split, tearingin half, and we became
two
babies. Two halves of a whole. That’swhy it’s weird but true – we were one person first, even if only fora millisecond.Mummy always said that having twins was the last thing she’dexpected, except she knew there had to be a good reason why shecouldn’t fit through doors at four months, let alone do her jeansup. Mummy was beautiful. Everyone said so. She looked like anice queen from the pages of a fairy tale. A queen who wore flip-flops and Indian skirts with tassels dangling down, and whosefingers were stained nicotine yellow. She wouldn’t tell us who ourfather was. Not that it really mattered. We just pretended it did,because it felt exciting to try and guess who he might be, as if wecould invent the story of our own birth.
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Twins 08/01/2013 15:25 Page 1
 
There’s a Greek myth that says if a woman sleeps with a godand a mortal on the same day she’ll have two babies: one childfrom each father. Even our mother wouldn’t do anything as sluttyas that. But when we climbed the branches of the lilac tree to siton the roof of the shed, sharing an apple and discussing possiblepaternal options,the idea of being fathered bya godwas satisfying.The obvious choice was a rock god. Our mother played TheDoors obsessively. She looked at Jim Morrison’s picture on thealbum cover and sighed. The only thing we knew about ourfather was that our mother met him at a festival in California.Bingo. It had to be Morrison. We didn’t want our dad to be oneof the creeps and weirdos we lived with at the commune inWales. Lanky Luke or smelly Eric. Mummy didn’t love any of them. We wrote Mr Morrison a letter once, secretly, signing itfrom Viola and Isolte Love. We never got a reply.On 3 July 1971 Jim Morrison was found dead in his bath inParis. Cause of death: heart failure brought on by heavy drink-ing. He’d planned to stop being a rock god and become a poet.He’d been waiting for his contract to run out. The day the newsbroke we came home from school to find our mother playing‘Hello, I Love You’ over and over and weeping into her glass of red wine. We cried too, up in our bedroom, howling into our pil-lows. At first it was a kind of show; but then fake turned to real.You know how sometimes when you laugh really hard you cantrip some emotional switch and start crying instead? This was abit like that. Except pretend crying tripped the real thing, andsuddenly we were drowning in tears, taking shuddering gasps,snot smearing our cheeks. We had no idea what we were cryingabout. Later, when Mummy was sober and we were all hiccuping
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Twins 08/01/2013 15:25 Page 2

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