Picks and Pans Review: The Promised World

updated 09/14/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/14/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Lisa Tucker |

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"What is life but a story we don't know the meaning of yet?" The question posed in its first pages captures the spirit of this strangely suspenseful novel about a pair of preternaturally close—and curiously damaged—fraternal twins. Lila, a quiet English prof, is left catatonic when Billy commits suicide. Her only hope of recovery lies in unraveling the long-discarded memories of her bleak, eerie childhood. Tucker (The Song Reader) is a riveting storyteller whose book brims with a cathartic intelligence about the dark side of families—and how we survive.

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