THE END OF THE TWINS: A Memoir of Losing a Brother

Saul Diskin, Author . Overlook $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-58567-163-2

There has been no dearth of well-wrought books tracing the years and days leading to the inevitable death of a loved one. Diskin enters the field with a memoir of his brother's two-decade battle with leukemia that's both stylistically solid and, on occasion, emotionally gripping. There's also a twist: the brother whose passing inspired this story, Martin, is Saul's identical twin. Woven through the account of the one's decline and death is the other's attempt to grapple with the looming loss of half his being—an intellectual and spiritual exercise that feeds into society's fascination with the mystery of what it means to be a body double, a "superior freak." The book's first third covers the boys' ragamuffin upbringing in Jewish-immigrant Brooklyn before, during and after the Second World War; their precocious early years as voracious readers; the determined (and sometimes ferocious) development of distinct personalities; and their eventual estrangement as they enter adulthood and move into marriage, parenthood and quite separate careers (Martin as a leftist specialist in Latin American studies, Saul as a businessman with moderate to conservative politics). But when "Marty" reveals his illness to "Sauly" in 1971, the near-mystical bond of their boyhood years is renewed—even more so by the early 1990s, when it becomes obvious that the one brother's best hope for survival is through receiving the freely given bone marrow of the other, a harrowingly painful procedure for both men that gives one just a couple more years of life. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-1-4685-3014-8
Hardcover - 264 pages - 978-1-4685-3013-1
Open Ebook - 978-1-4685-3015-5
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