The arresting, tragic story of freak twin sisters, Black West Indians, in a Welsh village (and then in prison), well-told by...

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THE SILENT TWINS

The arresting, tragic story of freak twin sisters, Black West Indians, in a Welsh village (and then in prison), well-told by a Sunday Times reporter. A fascinating read for anyone who likes Oliver Sacks-type medical histories and for anyone else, too. June and Jennifer are twins, but not ordinary ones; mute in public and among family, together in private they communicate in an incomprehensible birdlike, speeded-up English. Self-educated, they write copious diaries, short stories, even novels (good, steamy ones, considering). They walk to and from school in a synchronized goose step. At other times they move with mirror-image gestures. They are inseparable--when hospital doctors attempt it, they stop eating for three weeks and remain still on their cots for days. Yet they hate each other with an incommunicable, attacking rage. Doctors and social workers give up on June and Jennifer by the time they hit adolescence, which is when they need help most. Living at home on the weekly dole checks, they can only get into trouble. Soon they become obsessed with boys and sex, giving themselves to a bunch of near-hoodlum American teen-agers living at the nearby base. The boys soon abandon them and the twins turn for fun to arson, which is how they end up in Broadmoor, Britain's huge prison for the criminally insane, where they are today. Beyond the sensational freakishness of this story, Wallace uses great care and insight to explore and unravel the minds and feelings of the two. She effectively chooses quotes from their diaries and fiction--quotes that tell their tale better than any outsider can. It's in these quotes that the story, at other times enraging or unreal, becomes simply very sad.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1986

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Prentice Hall Press

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1986