Identical twins Talulah and Taliah have never been apart. Viewed as curiosities by children and adults alike, they coexist in an insular world with their own secret language. But being identical doesn’t necessarily mean being equal…
Soon a series of momentous events will send Talulah and Taliah spiralling out of control, setting them on a collision course with a society that views them as two parts of a whole. Will their symbiotic relationship survive?
Perceptive and poignant, Symbiosis explores our enduring fascination with twins and the complexities of twinship.
A valuable addition to the monozygotic canon…
Symbiosis demonstrates Portman’s ability to populate his worlds with peculiar yet plausible characters.
Moving and laconic, with impressive attention to psychological detail…
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AND READ TRISH’S REVIEW!
by Guy Portman
January 21, 2016
Symbiosis is the story of young, identical twins, Talulah and Taliah. Most of the story follows them growing up, highlighting the almost supernatural connection, the eerie synchronicity, and the invented language they share with only each other.
First off, I liked how the story was told, though it took me a while to get accustomed to it, and some extra formatting or spacing in places could have made transitions easier to spot. The perspective, though always in third person point of view, shifts its focus from one twin to the other, to their caregivers, parents, and acquaintances, though most of the time it sticks to the twins. There are also a few of the twins’ diary entries, often one after the other regarding the same day to highlight the similarities and differences in the girls over the years.
As the end of the book approaches, the story starts reading a bit more like a typical thriller and begins to focus heavily on one of the twins. Up until that point, I wasn’t sure who the main character was, though I suspect it was supposed to be both twins as the main character.
The cryptophasia (invented twin talk) was interesting to me, though mostly impossible to figure out. By the end of the story, though, I was able to pick out some of it. Saying the words aloud sometimes made them close enough to regular words to make some sense of them. Some readers, though, might not be inclined to bother trying. Luckily, there’s usually enough context to figure out the gist of what they’re saying.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty good read. Different, but in a good way. Folks who like psychological thrillers and the paranormal might like this, but it takes a bit of patience to get to the part where things really start happening.
The review copy of Symbiosis was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
About Guy Portman
Throughout a childhood in London spent watching cold war propaganda gems such as He Man, an adolescence confined in various institutions, and a career that has encompassed stints in academic research and the sports industry, Guy has been a keen if somewhat cynical social observer.
Humour of the sardonic variety is a reoccurring theme in all Guy’s writing. His first novel, Charles Middleworth, is an insightful tale of the unexpected. The protagonist in his second novel, the satirical black comedy Necropolis, is, like the author, a darkly humorous individual – though, unlike the author, he is a psychopath.
His third novel, Symbiosis, is a psychological thriller about twins girls called Talulah and Taliah.
Guy is a dedicated blogger and an avid reader. Reviews of the books he has read can be found in the review section of this blog.