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Soulmates: Book review

5 March 2011

SoulmatesSoulmates by Miranda Glover

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Emi and Polly Leto are identical twins, yet as they grow up they have great differences in character. When I began reading the book I kept being reminded of Her fearful symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, which I read a couple of years ago. It was also a kind of Bildungsroman about identical twins, and was also set in London, at least in part.

For the first few chapters I kept thinking that I could always give up and abandon the book if it got too boring, but somehow it never did, and the story got more interesting as it progressed, and I think it is considerably better than Her fearful symmetry.

Emi, who was always closer to her mother when they were growing up, decides, as her mother did at one point, to drop out of her life, and disappears completely in order to reinvent herself. But she fails to tell Polly or any of her friends where she has gone, leaving them wondering what has happened to her.

I suppose that is one of the things I find interesting and appealing about the story. We are interested in family history, and one comes across a surprising number of people who seem to disappear without a trace, without telling members of their family where they are going. Nowadays electronic social networks make it relatively easy to find old friends that you haven’t seen for years, but only if they want to be found. It is difficult to find someone who really wants to hide, though in the end they often do surface somewhere. I last saw my own father when I was 12 years old, and only found out that he had died 14 years after his death. As the book points out, thousands of people go missing every year, and while some turn up within a week or two, many are never found by their friends and families, and the police aren’t very interested unless there is good reason to suspect foul play.

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