Though I’ve read the book multiple times, it’s been a while, so some of my answers may not be as thoughtful or specific as they otherwise might have been.
Also, partly because I had more to say on some questions and less to say on others, and partly (mostly) because of my ongoing computer issues, I’m going to be cutting this short by picking and choosing my questions. (Sorry, Katie.)
This book discussion WILL include spoilers.
1. Being a twin is discussed at length in this novel, in particular, the advent of a twin language. Do you think this is unique to twins, or have you had a similar shorthand with your siblings?
Whether it’s unique or not, I don’t know. I’ve never come across any real-life twin language or language shared by other siblings. As for my own shorthand with my brother, I guess we have one to an extent, but no different than just typical family or even close friends stuff… inside jokes and whatnot, where we’re obviously speaking English and anyone could understand the words, but not why we choose to say them or have the reactions to each other that we do.
4. Was anybody else curious as to just HOW the twins could have become feral? I know the Missus was old and John the Dig was rather distant, but do you think the fact that the twins grew as they did was simply a result of gross neglect or do you think their parentage may have messed around with the gene pool a bit?
I do think it’s likely that the incest played a role in the twins’ behavior. Their unusual (or complete lack of) upbringing probably contributed as well, but just compare the twins to Vida herself, who may have had a family once but seemed to be just as feral as the twins when she enters into their lives. As with most nature vs nurture debates, I’ll say it was a combination of both.
5. In the middle of the book, Vida begins shifting her pronouns around while telling her story and referring to herself in the first person. How did you interpret this as you were reading? Did you assign it much significance?
Well, first of all, one specific detail I do remember is that the first appearance of “I” actually happens before Margaret points it out. Whether that was a slip on the part of the author or that she intended Margaret to be slower in noticing, I’m not sure. But yes, it jumped out at me (obviously, if when Margaret says, “she used ‘I’ for the first time,” my reaction was, “it’s not the first time!”). So I noticed it, and I knew it would be significant, but no, I didn’t suspect necessarily that it was the introduction of a new character.
10. Did you see that ending coming?!?!?! Did you believe that Adeline could have turned into a functional 13-year-old girl out of the blue or did you suspect something fishy? Did you catch any of the early clues? Did your head feel all explodey?
Well, regarding Adeline, it was extremely fishy, and given that her change coincides with the introduction of “I” into the narrative, I think it should have been a bigger trigger than it was for me. Looking back on it, it’s easy to see that of course this is a completely different person! At the time, I probably figured she’d realized someone had to take charge (which was true, just the wrong someone), and that also accounted for referring to herself as I rather than a distant third party. I can’t remember what else stuck out to me, or if I suspected part of the truth (the girls were actually triplets, or something like that) before the whole thing was revealed. I do remember the actual reveal was a surprise. Which does make me feel like a bit of a fool, but at the same time I loved it so much that it’s hard to get too mad at myself or at the book (or the author).
So yes, to respond to Katie’s final question (Did you like it?), I loved it. I love everything about this book… all of the twin stuff, as it affected both of the main women in the book… the story about Vida the ghost (we never learn her original name, do we?), and how once she steps out into the light Adeline becomes the ghost… all of the romanticism of books and writers… and, maybe most of all, how this story draws insipration from all those old gothic novels that I’m too intimidated to read, only this one is told in plain (ie, modern) English.
So, if you’ve read this far I’ll assume that you’ve read the book… what did you think of it?