Twins

Twins - Bari Wood, Jack Geasland [These notes were made in 1990:]. Splashed all over the cover of this paperback is the title (Dead Ringers) of the Cronenberg film made from the novel -- a film I did not see, though I like Jeremy Irons. I was no further than a few pages into it, though, when I realized that I had read this book, or at least skimmed enthralled and horrified through it, in the late seventies. It is essentially the story of the enslavement of one twin -- I guess you could call him the "good" twin, Michael -- by his doppelganger and brother, David. Both are doctors, in fact gynaecologists, but whereas Michael forms outside relationships and sustains for a while a quite usual heterosexual relationship, David is exceedingly dependent on and jealous of his brother, and forms only gay relationships in a vain attempt to duplicate the twin-brother relationship (I'm not sure I like the political implications of this.) Anyway, David wins; eventually Michael is dragged out of his respectability into David's paranoid, depressed world (full of alcohol and drugs), and the two commit murder/suicide. Ironically, since Michael is the one who has felt threatened throughout the story, it is Michael who eventually kills David (with David's consent). I am not able to deduce form publication dates what, if any, relationship this novel bears to Michel Tournier's Gemini, a far more skilful and less sensationalistic work on the same themes, published in France in the mid-70's, but not in English translation until the early '80s. One thing is certain; Twins is aimed at (and hits dead centre) a sensationalist mass-market audience.