Monday, June 18, 2007

First Person Plural

The other day, I got an e-mail from another Andy B, Andrew W.M. Beierle in particular. He asked me - me? - to take a look at the first chapter of his new book, First Person Plural, and see if I had anything to say about it. And I do.

The story is about a pair of conjoined twins, one of whom turns out to be gay. Now, I love anything that has to do with conjoined twins. When I was a child, I read the story about Chang and Eng several times, wanting more and more information. I watched a story about Abigail and Brittany Hensel intensely, wishing I had some way to record it. It's just fascinating to me.

One of my favorite books in the world is Very Special People, a borrowed copy of which I also read over and over as a kid (and which was gifted to me several years ago by a very perceptive woman who said, "I was throwing out some old books of mine and I found this. I thought you might like to have it.") I also love any story about dwarves (Maybe the Moon, Geek Love, Stones From the River). So this book was sort of an easy sell for me.

However, the great thing about it is that the writing is so engaging. It flows beautifully and all that detail (the medical facts, the every day life stuff) that I love is folded in very artfully. Sometimes I see an episode of CSI and I know they want to tell us how long it takes blood to coagulate or something but it's put in the dialogue in such a ham fisted way. Not here. It's done very well and it makes me want to keep reading. The worst part is that there is only one chapter available to read. I would have devoured it. I've already pre-ordered it.

From what I've read, I'm betting that First Person Plural going to be a lot like Geek Love, in the way that Katherine Dunn sprinkles the facts throughout the story. Granted, there are some people who can't get through Geek Love, but I think that they are missing the point. It's a great story, as this is sure to be.

Incidentally, Mr. Beierle's other book, The Winter of our Discoteque, won a Lambda Literary award in 2002. Someone to watch. I've ordered that one as well.

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