26a by Diana Evans
Twins Georgia and Bessi are happy in their Edenic attic bedroom. They have each other, strawberry-scented beanbags for making important decisions on and a door.
On the outside they’ve chalked ‘26a’, declaring their independence from the rest of the house; on the inside ‘G + B’, proclaiming their essential one-plus-oneness.
Doownstairs, things are a bit stranger. Their older sister Bel is growing up, much faster than their parents think is appropriate and their younger sister Kemy is becoming increasingly obsessed with Michael Jackson.
Meanwhile, their mother Ida is pining for Nigeria – her homeland – and misses her own mother. Their father, Aubrey, drinks, and morphs from repressed Yorkshireman to roaring, angry drunk after a few too many. And he has a few too many most nights.
As the twins grow up, and engage with the outside world, life – somewhat inevitably – becomes increasingly complicated, and they have to cope with increasing separation and the differences in what they – and each other – want.
This proves easier for one twin to negotiate than the other, with tragic consequences.
A moving coming-of-age novel with a difference.