11 Novels that Will Have You Seeing Double
Thanks in large part to “The Parent Trap,” one of my greatest wishes growing up was to discover my own separated-at-birth twin. We’d wear matching outfits and fool everyone into thinking we were the same person so I’d never have to do anything I hated again (conveniently, my imaginary twin would love taking math tests). These days, I’m resigned to my lot as a solo zygote, but the mystique of twins has never worn off. Whether you are a twin or simply dream of being one, these eleven books will have you seeing double.
1I Know This Much Is True
Dominick and Thomas are identical in every respect except one: Thomas suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. After Thomas cuts off his own hand in what he believes to be an act of sacrificial protest, Dominick must review his own status as the “normal” twin and confront the dark and suppressed truths of his own life in this tale of alienation, connection, and, above all, the power of familial bonds.
Nearing the age of thirty, bookish Rose and beautiful Ruby are on the verge of becoming the oldest conjoined twins in history, but they are remarkable for a lot more than their unusual connection. Born joined at the head and known by everyone in their small town as “The Girls,” their sisterly bond is a powerful reminder of the fundamental joy of simply living a life.
3The God of Small Things
In 1969 India, a set of fraternal twins live a lonely yet intimate childhood as their dysfunctional family slowly crumbles around them. In lush and vivid prose, Arundhati Roy crafts a world where love is governed by law, history demands sacrifices, and even small things can be extraordinary.
4The Distant Hours
A long-lost letter compels Edie Burchill to visit the great but decaying old house of the elderly Blythe spinsters—a set of twins and their disturbed younger sister. Edie is soon drawn into the mysteries of the house and the hidden truth of the sisters’ past in this richly atmospheric tapestry of madness, forbidden love, and family secrets.
When Mia’s best friend falls in love with Mia’s fraternal twin, Zach, the three form an inseparable trio—until one decision shatters their world in the blink of an eye. Luminous and emotionally nuanced, this unforgettable story raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, and loss.
Identical twins Kate and Violet were born with uncanny psychic abilities, but where Violet embraced and even made a livelihood from her visions, Kate did her best to hide them and live a normal life. But when a minor earthquake hits their hometown, Kate is forced to face the part of herself she’s always tried to deny.
Cath and Wren are identical twins who, until recently, did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren doesn’t want to be one half of a pair anymore—she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties, and let loose. In this touching exploration of codependence and sisterhood, Cath and Wren must open their hearts to new people and new experiences, and discover their own identity without each other’s constant presence.
9The Prince of Tides
Born into a tragic yet extraordinary legacy, Tom and his gifted and troubled twin sister, Savannah, struggle to fashion their own lives amidst heartbreak and cruelty. Spanning forty years and filled with the vanishing beauty of South Carolina low country and the dusty glitter of New York City, Pat Conroy’s huge, brash thunderstorm of a novel is astonishing, cathartic, and profoundly human.
10Her Fearful Symmetry
Intensely attached twins Julia and Valentina move to London when their aunt dies and leaves them her apartment on the edge of Highgate Cemetery. As they become involved in the lives of the eccentric neighbors, the twins discover that much is still alive in Highgate—including, perhaps, their aunt.
11Chang and Eng
Woven from the fabric of fact, myth, and imagination, this poignant and humanizing novel is based on the real-life story of nineteenth-century conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker, international celebrities who lived for more than six decades never more than seven inches apart, attached at the chest by a small band of skin and cartilage.