Synopses & Reviews
Meet Rose and Ruby: sisters, best friends, confidantes, and conjoined twins. Since their birth, Rose and Ruby Darlen have been known simply as "the girls." They make friends, fall in love, have jobs, love their parents, and follow their dreams. But the Darlens are special. Now nearing their 30th birthday, they are history's oldest craniopagus twins, joined at the head by a spot the size of a bread plate.
When Rose, the bookish sister, sets out to write her autobiography, it inevitably becomes the story of her short but extraordinary life with Ruby, the beautiful one. From their awkward first steps Ruby's arm curled around Rose's neck, her foreshortened legs wrapped around Rose's hips to the friendships they gradually build for themselves in the small town of Leaford, this is the profoundly affecting chronicle of an incomparable life journey.
As Rose and Ruby's story builds to an unforgettable conclusion, Lansens aims at the heart of human experience the hardship of loss and struggles for independence, and the fundamental joy of simply living a life. This is a breath taking novel, one that no reader will soon forget, a heartrending story of love between sisters.
"Conjoined twins Rose and Ruby Darlen are linked at the side of the head, with separate brains and bodies. Born in a small town outside Toronto in the midst of a tornado and abandoned by their unwed teenage mother two weeks later, the girls are cared for by Aunt Lovey, a nurse who refuses to see them as deformed or even disabled. She raises them in Leaford, Ontario, where, at age 29, Rose, the more verbal and bookish twin, begins writing their story i.e., this novel, which begins, 'I have never looked into my sister's eyes.' Showing both linguistic skill and a gift for observation, Lansens's Rose evokes country life, including descriptions of corn and crows, and their neighbors Mrs. Merkel, who lost her only son in the tornado, and Frankie Foyle, who takes the twins' virginity. Rose shares her darkest memory (public humiliation during a visit to their Slovakian-born Uncle Stash's hometown) and her deepest regret, while Ruby, the prettier, more practical twin, who writes at her sister's insistence, offers critical details, such as what prompted Rose to write their life story. Through their alternating narratives, Lansens captures a contradictory longing for independence and togetherness that transcends the book's enormous conceit." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The first three-quarters of Lori Lansens' new novel, The Girls, is the best story I've read this year. It kept me reading late into the night, and the next day I couldn't get the characters out of my head....Ultimately [home] is where they find grace and hope and love at the end of the book." Quill & Quire
"[A] remarkable second novel....[R]eaders may forget they are reading fiction." Kristine Huntley, Booklist (Starred Review)
"This novel after Rush Home Road speaks volumes about solitude, loneliness, and enormous personal courage. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"Lansens has created a richly nuanced, totally believable sibling relationship....An unsentimental, heartwarming page-turner. Quite an achievement." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] novel of virtuoso complexity....[U]tterly compelling..." Newsday
"Lori Lansens makes a gentle, persuasive case for everyone's individuality..." Boston Globe
One of the world's oldest living craniopagus conjoined twins at the approach of her thirtieth birthday, bookish Rose Darlen attempts to pen her autobiography while remembering the joys and challenges of her life with sister Ruby, with whom she shares friendships in their small hometown. By the author of Rush Home Road.
Rarely has the experience of being a sister been so poignantly and memorably captured as in Lori Lansens's triumphant novel. The Girls celebrates life's fundamental joys and trials as it presents Rose and Ruby, sisters destined to live inseparably but blessed with distinct sensibilities that enrich and complicate their shared experiences-of growing up, of finding their way in the world, of saying good-bye.Readers who encounter the girls will find it hard to resist falling under their spell.
About the Author
Lori Lansens was a successful screenwriter before she burst onto the literary scene in 2002 with her first novel Rush Home Road. Translated into eight languages and published in eleven countries, Rush Home Road received rave reviews around the world, was a national bestseller in Canada and a Globe 100 Book of the Year. Whoopi Goldberg's production company has optioned the film rights. Born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, where both Rush Home Road and The Girls are set, Lori Lansens now makes her home in Toronto.