Comic novella from an acclaimed Mexican author (Almost Never, 2012).
The Gamal sisters are twins, and more than twins. After the death of their parents in a car accident—the girls were 13—they began to grow increasingly indistinguishable. Now in their 40s, they live together, they dress the same, they wear their hair in the same style. The slight differences in their personalities are obscured by the fact that they sometimes trade names. Then Constitución meets Oscar Segura, a “slender man of interesting age.” Suddenly, the Gamal sisters are no longer identical. Gloria grows bitter and silent. Constitución considers teasing her hair into a beehive and penciling her eyebrows to make herself into a new person, an individual. She abandons these thoughts, though, as she considers her sister’s heartbreak. Instead, she arrives at a radical solution to their predicament. Oscar has no idea that Constitución has a twin sister. What’s to stop them from taking turns in the role of Oscar’s sweetheart? Thus, both twins enjoy a taste of romance. There are, of course, problems with this plan, practical and existential. What follows is screwball comedy and melodramatic meditations on desire, dreams, and life’s dualities. The plot, like the book itself, is slight, and there is very little action. This tale is composed mostly of rumination, and the narrator emerges as the dominant character. Sada, who died in 2011, was known for his playfully extravagant style, a mix of earthy colloquialisms and fancy syntax. Here, he’s crafted a narrator that’s equal parts town gossip and armchair philosopher, a biographer and a fabulist, a storyteller who recruits the reader as a co-conspirator.
Slight, but disarming.