In Edward Carey’s follow up to his simply wonderful debut novel “Observatory Mansions” the author delves once again into similar themes of family, identity, lonliness and community.
This time we are introduced to the epynonymous twins, Alva and Irva Dapps, inseperable despite Alva's constant attempts to break free from that perceived fate. Once more surrounding them are a world of characters all possessing some odd trait or another. Alva and Irva, themselves, share an unusual obsession for plasticine and through this affinity they manage to save their small city, if not themselves.
Some of the novel's highlights include: the history of the Post Office and a rather unique tatoo that Alva decides on and what happens to the siblings in the face of fame and its gradual decline. The last chapter is particularly stunning when one of the twins past loves reccounts his own recent history in regards to that of his lost friends'.
I did not enjoy Carey’s sophmore effort as much as I did OM but I was moved by the novel in an almost similar way. It also did make me feel eternally grateful for family and wishing that the freedom loving sibling in the book could have understood how blessed she truly was for the ties that bind instead of seeing them only as a chain forever holding her back from the freedom she believed she desired so much.