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26a


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two-ness, five stars
A complete list of books dealing with twins and the special bond between them would probably take longer to read than most novels, but few of the novels on that list could give such an impression of what it is like to experience that bond, or be as enjoyable to read, as '26a'.
Evans' novel tells the story of the Hunter family, and especially the twins Bessi and...
Published on 1 April 2005 by Philip Craggs

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Family myths
26a is a colourful story of four girls growing up in Neasdon, near Brixton, with their Nigerian mother, Ida, who is like a fish out of water in this strange, cold country, and their Derbyshire father, Aubrey. The story is told mostly from the point of view of twin girls Bessi and Georgia from their birth into adulthood, with snippets of their parents histories juxtaposed...
Published on 9 July 2012 by neverendings


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two-ness, five stars, 1 April 2005
This review is from: 26a (Hardcover)
A complete list of books dealing with twins and the special bond between them would probably take longer to read than most novels, but few of the novels on that list could give such an impression of what it is like to experience that bond, or be as enjoyable to read, as '26a'.
Evans' novel tells the story of the Hunter family, and especially the twins Bessi and Georgia. We follow them from childhood to adulthood, in Neasden and Nigeria, and through the different experiences of their lives. One of the impressive aspects of this novel (and there are many) is the way that Evans gives the reader such an impression of what it means to be a twin, not by characters telling us but by showing us the way the twins think and interact so that we can see and feel it for ourselves.
But it would be wrong to give the impression that the focus is entirely on the twins. The rest of the Hunter family all have their own character journeys which are extremely well handled. You might not like each member of the family all the time, but they are still compelling and real. All of the incidental characters in the novel also leave a strong imprint on the mind of the reader, even if their appearance is fleeting, such is Evans' skill with swift characterisation.
Another way in which '26a' is impressive is the way it balances all the different elements. In particular, the way that comedy is mixed with tragedy so that rather than clashing they actually enhance each other. '26a' is a book that is frequently funny, but which also deals with the more distressing side of life - and Evans shows herself equally adept at both.
But perhaps the most impressive thing about '26a' is that it is a debut novel. If you didn't know this when you read it you could be forgiven for not realising, such is the assurance and the strength of voice Evans displays. Her prose is sharp, funny and moving, her characters convincing and compelling, and her future very bright indeed. I strongly recommend you read this novel now, before you're accused of band-wagon jumping when she really takes off - because she will.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written but incredibly sad, 22 May 2007
By 
J. Streeter (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 26a (Paperback)
26a is a story about a mixed White/Nigerian family growing up in Britain and briefly in Nigeria in the 1980s and 1990s. The characterisation is deep, emotional and superb and one is really drawn in to feel empathy with each character in some way. The prose is beautiful and the pace is constant with a good rhythm. I understand from another reviewer that this is partly autobiographical which makes the story only more impacting. In summary, this is an excellent read and gives the reader a great insight into the lives and thoughts of four girls growing up in late 20th century Britian but my only warning is that this is a tragedy. It is incredibly sad and the descriptions of onsetting mental illness/depression and its outcome at the end are poignant and perhaps too upsetting for some.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inexplicably brilliant!!, 29 Mar 2007
This review is from: 26a (Paperback)
Words cannot express the emotions that this book stirred in me. I read this book with such a heavy heart and a lump in my throat. Diane Evans so accurately describes and explains all the emotions that Georgia and Bessi experience, taking the reader along with them. I cannot explain how much the 2 characters became a part of my world whilst I was reading this book. I genuinely felt fear and frustration for Georgia and ached to be able to help her. Never before has a book touched me or affected me so much. This is the most moving and emotional book I have ever read! I would urge everyone I know to read this book and I defy anyone not to love it.

I read many great books in 2006 but this was by far my favourite book of the year - if not ever! Diane Evans certainly deserves every award she won for this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical book that works all the way through, 25 Mar 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: 26a (Paperback)
After finishing 26a this afternoon I still haven't been able to move beyond it. The characters are rich (while some go through stages of being a bit annoying, just as in life) and the manner of experiencing life that the twins in particular share - made reading the book an experience in itself.
When the book closed in the end I thought that it had been perfectly written (this I've never thought before) - and picked it up and started reading it again...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 26a is wondrous, 18 April 2006
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This review is from: 26a (Paperback)
I had never heard of this book before I found it on a shelf in Smiths, but after reading the back cover I thought that i would give it a go. It took a few pages to get into but once i was passed that i was hooked! The synopsis doesn't do the book justice. Each character is totally believable with their own gentle warmth and personality and with the writers use of language and description form a brilliant image in your mind and a place in your heart. It wasnt long before the unusual conversations and childish thinking become second nature to me and I understood exactly what they meant. However in a book that triumphs in so many ways the real storyline winner is the relationship between the twins, Bessie and Georgia, so magnificently told. Throughout the book you cannot get away from the strength and intensity of love that the twins have for one another. From the opening pages about their birth right through to the last sentence the feeling of 'twoness in oneness' is omnipotent. Anyone who manages to read the last few pages without crying their eyes out(as i did) cannot be human. In a nutshell this book tells the story of childhood innocence, adolescent realisation, family dynamics, differences in cultures and the breakdown of a mind with perfect perception and detail.What more can i say...this book is pure gold.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Family myths, 9 July 2012
This review is from: 26a (Paperback)
26a is a colourful story of four girls growing up in Neasdon, near Brixton, with their Nigerian mother, Ida, who is like a fish out of water in this strange, cold country, and their Derbyshire father, Aubrey. The story is told mostly from the point of view of twin girls Bessi and Georgia from their birth into adulthood, with snippets of their parents histories juxtaposed alongside.

Bessi and Georgia grow up feeling like two halves of one whole person but wouldn't have things any other way. They survive the drunken furies of their father and they acknowledge Ida's need for constant discourse with her own mother, to whom the small gap of several continents poses no problems. The family spends three years in Nigeria, and one event in Georgia's young life has a knock-on effect as she grows older.

A family myth that is told them by the twins' maternal grandfather is another motif that endures with them into adulthood, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy and representing how the heritage of two cultures blends together. The characters are likeable and you are drawn into their stories, understanding the layers that make up the individual identities as well as the ties that bind the family together. At the same time, it all feels just a little bit too neat, and I preferred the darker undertones of Helen Oyeyemi's 'Icarus Girl' which was released around the same time and covers similar themes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the devastating girls, 19 Nov 2011
This review is from: 26a (Hardcover)
A novel about mixed race twins growing up in Neasden. Beautifully written throughout, the characters are developed by attention to little things associated with them, like satsumas and flapjacks - and colours as well. Captures the 70s and 80s very well, the story of Diana Princess of Wales carries on in the background, and there is much about Michael Jackson and learning to moonwalk. At one point you wonder where it all might be going and I did drift off in the middle a bit, wondering how much my interest in the mores of teenage girls in the 80s and 90s could be sustained, but, without giving the ending away, the last forty pages or so are written with such heartwrenching intensity you rethink the whole question of what it means to be human, and it stays with you long after you've finished (even though I only finished it this morning), and makes the whole journey very worthwhile.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching and sensitive book, 30 Dec 2007
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This review is from: 26a (Paperback)
I'm glad this book was recommended to me otherwise I would never have picked it up. The blurb does not do justice to the depth and sensitivities of the novel and topics touched upon - it makes it appear to be a lighthearted read. An emotional and poignant insight into the lives of twins, mixed cultural heritage, growing up and depression.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If I could I'd give it 4 and a half..., 22 Aug 2006
This review is from: 26a (Paperback)
I really liked this book. The reason I wouldn't give it the full 5 stars is that at times it was a bit too intangible, it's hard to explain but it's like it got a bit too confusing and otherworldly, especially near the end. Having said that though, the ending made me cry a lot which for me is the sign of a good book because it doesn't happen very often.

The best thing about it is the characters are so real, and as well as moving me to cry it also made me laugh at times. I loved the relationship between the twins and the little stories of family life, like sayings you develop, are so true. An example of that is the twins adopting the use of 'it's good eve', which if you get into the characters in the context of the book is adorable, and makes the end even more sad. Also, being a teenager myself I thought that the way the author explores their first relationships with guys was really great, I think a lot of people would be able to relate to that.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magical .., 28 Jun 2007
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This review is from: 26a (Hardcover)
Story about the Hunter family living at no 26a in Neasden, originating from Nigeria.

Mum finds it hard to settle in England,husband is a character and the children are adorable.

The changes that the twins go through as they grow up also showing us about the bond that twins can share especially when they decide to do thier own thing. Also focusing on the other members of the family.

Very easy to read, with pages full of comedy and a little bit that will make you shed a tear!

Great book !!!
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26a
26a by Diana Evans (Paperback - 2 Mar 2006)
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