Vanishing Twins: A Marriage

Leah Dieterich. Soft Skull, $16.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-59376-291-9
Dieterich (Thxthxthx: Thank Goodness for Everything) chronicles her romantic life in this intimate and passionate memoir, which focuses on the link between identity and love. The narrative’s central metaphor comes from the phenomenon of the fetal “vanishing twin,” when “one twin becomes less viable and is... absorbed by the other twin.” Dieterich explores each of her relationships as the quest to become either the viable or absorbed twin. In her husband, Eric, an architect and artist, she recognizes the nurturing compatibility of a partner, observing, “It’s like we’re the same person. We finish each other’s sentences. This is what we’ve been taught to desire and expect of love.” Then Elena, a filmmaker, enters Dieterich’s life. Dieterich develops a romantic relationship with Elena, and in the process explores questions of fidelity, monogamy, and the malleability of sexual identity. Dieterich’s self-exploration is also informed by her experience as a ballerina, as when she observes that the dancers in the George Balanchine ballet Agon never “merge their bodies into one and become set dressing.” Like her relationships, the structure and style of the book explores unconventionality. Dietrich writes in short passages that could be read as prose poetry. The narrative, though, is seamless, as she traverses a period of uncertainty and questioning into comfortably claiming her queer identity. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/04/2018
Release date: 09/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-68441-524-3
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