A quirky and disturbingly comic first novel about identical twin sisters trying to make it to eighteen in affluent New Jersey, from an award-winning short story writer.
Told in alternating voices, Twins is the heartfelt and unsettlingly honest story of identical twin sisters on an epic journey to survive their difficult adolescence.
Sue, younger by four long minutes, idolizes the seemingly perfect Chloe. Although they look the same, Sue thinks of her twin as prettier, smarter, better. For this Sue torments herself, and in the process, with her caustic wit, she torments Chloe. The sisters' parents, divorce lawyers, trust the girls to grow up on their own; their older brother Daniel treats them with contempt; and Daisy, the family's standard poodle, needs more love and care than the girls can deliver.
On their thirteenth birthday, the sisters get tattoos to prove their love is stronger than DNA, but instead, they continue to grow apart. When Chloe befriends Lisa Markman, an aspiring model and the daughter of a famous basketball player, the careful, strained peace between the sisters erupts into a violent climax.
Over the course of five years, the twins survive heartbreak, unhappy Hawaiian vacations, parental neglect, eating disorders, pill abuse, and the first painful explorations of love and sex. As they try to keep their hold in the ever-confusing world they inhabit, both Chloe and Sue reach out to new mentors who help them understand the complex connection they have to the world, and to each other.
Surrounded by an eclectic cast of characters, including the selfish Japanese sculptor Yumiko, a young Indian writer named Smita, and former Knicks player Rodney Markman, the twin sisters attempt to overcome apathy and despair to redeem each other.
At times funny, bitter, and affecting, Twins introduces two new suburban heroines on the verge, and a talented new author to watch.
“Twins is spectacular, weird, extraordinarily real, and funny in ways they don’t have names for.”
-Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight
“Dermansky is a lyrical, gifted, and original writer.…With a style that’s extremely accessible and lots of fun.”
-Janice Eidus, author of The Celibacy Club
“Entertaining...Balanced by an overarching fable-like quality to this moving and well-written story.”
“A startlingly beautiful love story… A thrill to read… The most detailed, disturbing, and loveable oddball romance you’ll ever read.”
-Frederick Barthelme, author of Elroy Nights
“Dermansky excels at depicting extreme emotional states and how we rationalize them.”
“Raw, extraordinary...A dark, heartbreaking tale about adolescents trying to survive.”
“A beguiling story of the powerful ties between identical twins… Dermansky has crafted a memorable novel.”
“Sometimes despairing, sometimes blackly humorous, always engrossing and thoroughly original. A wonderful debut.”
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“With dark humor and raw power…Dermansky has created a fascinating set of characters.”