Book Review: 26a by Diana Evans

Identical twins Georgi and Bessi live in the loft of 26a Waifer Avenue. It is a place of beanbags, nectarines and secrets, and visitors must always knock before entering. Down below there is not such harmony. Their Nigerian mother puts cayenne pepper on her Yorkshire pudding and has mysterious ways of dealing with homesickness; their father angrily roams the streets of Neasden, prey to the demons of his Derbyshire upbringing. Forced to create their own identities, the Hunter children build a separate universe. Older sister Bel discovers sex, high heels and organic hairdressing, the twins prepare for a flapjack empire and baby sister Kemy learns to moonwalk for Michael Jackson. It is when reality comes knocking that the fantasies of childhood start to give way.
How will Georgia and Bessi cope in a world of separateness and solitude and which of them will be stronger?
I had seen very mixed reviews for 26a so I decided to find out for myself. To be honest, I was pretty disappointed and really struggled to get to the end of it. It's very strange as there are some big plot twists in this book but they just didn't hold my attention.
This may just be me but I was really confused as to what the author was trying to get across with this story. It is part coming-of-age, part living in different countries and part dysfunctional families. Don't get me wrong, these are all very interesting but it was almost as though Diana Evans had tried to deal with too many subjects in a relatively short book.
I'm glad that I tried it but I found 26a disappointing. Have any of you read it, if so what did you think?


verity said...

I quite liked this but was distinctly underwhelmed by her later one. It seemed quite fresh to me and different from other new books

Amy said...

I've seen a lot of meh reviews, which is too bad. I might give this one a miss.

Dot said...

Verity- I just found it very hard to get into which was a shame as I had really been looking forward to reading it!

Amy- I'm sorry if I have put you off, maybe you should try it though as some people have really enjoyed it, think it's just one of those marmite books!

Tolita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tolita said...

I've read this book twice and adored it both times. I won't hear a bad word said about it. I don't know why people find it so hard to engage with it. This particular 'Scribbles' critique is not thorough enough to do the novel justice. If the reviewer approached the book in similar fashion then maybe the lack of connection is not surprising. It's more of a character study than heavy on plot.

I think '26A' is incredibly moving and riveting. Easily one of my favourite literary debuts. Evans is very talented. Her follow up 'The Wonder' is very good too but '26A'has a special place in my heart.

Check out my review soon to come on www.tolitasmusings.blogspot.com.

Shalom x

BOOK REVIEW: Our Kind of Cruelty by Amarinta Hall

Mike understands that most of us travel through the world as one half of a whole, desperately searching for that missing person to make us...