11 Novels that Will Have You Seeing Double

March 8 2016

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.

I Know This Much Is True
by Wally Lamb

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.

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I Know This Much Is True
Wally Lamb

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.

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The Girls
by Lori Lansens

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.

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The Girls
Lori Lansens

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.

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The God of Small Things
by Arundhati Roy

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.

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The God of Small Things
Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy’s debut novel has become a modern classic. Equal parts family saga, forbidden love story, and political drama, it chronicles in exquisite, atmospheric detail an affluent Indian family forever changed by one fateful day in 1969.

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The Distant Hours
by Kate Morton

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.

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The Distant Hours
Kate Morton

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.

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MENTIONED IN:

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10 Extra-Long Books for Long Days at the Beach

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11 Novels that Will Have You Seeing Double

By Emma Volk | March 8, 2016

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Night Road
by Kristin Hannah

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.

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Night Road
Kristin Hannah

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.

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Sisterland
by Curtis Sittenfeld

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.

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Sisterland
Curtis Sittenfeld

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.

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Fangirl
by Rainbow Rowell

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.

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Fangirl
Rainbow Rowell

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.

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Cutting for Stone
by Abraham Verghese

Set in Ethiopia and New York, this is the unforgettable story of twin brothers born of a secret union between an Indian nun and a British surgeon. As they come of age, passion and betrayal will tear them apart, but they can never truly escape their intensely intertwined fates.

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Cutting for Stone
Abraham Verghese

Born of a secret union between an Indian woman and a British surgeon and bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, twin brothers come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

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The Prince of Tides
by Pat Conroy

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.

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The Prince of Tides
Pat Conroy

The sweeping forty year story of the Wingo children of South Carolina: Tom, Savannah and Luke who, along with their mother - who is definitely no rose herself - suffer through years of abuse at the hands of their nasty drinking father and finally are able to throw off and grow through the pain of their childhood. One for the ages.

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Her Fearful Symmetry
by Audrey Niffenegger

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.

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Her Fearful Symmetry
Audrey Niffenegger

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.

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Chang and Eng
by Darin Strauss

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.

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Chang and Eng
Darin Strauss

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.

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