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Feb 28, 2012
| ISBN 9780143120223
Dec 30, 2010
| ISBN 9781101475225
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Feb 28, 2012 | ISBN 9780143120223
Dec 30, 2010 | ISBN 9781101475225
"Extraordinary…An unsparing but deeply compassionate inquiry into [family] life." -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
As Allen Shawn probed the sources of his anxieties while writing the acclaimed Wish I Could Be There, he realized that his fate was inextricably linked to his autistic twin sister. Mary, who has lived in a residency center for more than fifty years. Twin offers a deeply personal account of their divergent lives, and examines society’s changing attitudes toward and understanding of autism. It also provides an intimate look at the Shawns’ idiosyncratic family life with their father, the famed longtime editor of The New Yorker, William Shawn. Wrenching, honest, understated, and poetic, Twin is at heart about the mystery of being profoundly bonded to someone who can never be truly understood.
A heartbreaking yet deeply hopeful memoir about life as a twin in the face of autism. When Allen Shawn and his twin sister, Mary, were two, Mary began exhibiting signs of what would be diagnosed many years later as autism. Understanding Mary and making her life a happy one appeared to be impossible for the Shawns. At the age of eight, with almost no warning, her parents sent Mary to a residential treatment center. She never lived at home again. Fifty years later, as he probed the sources of his anxieties in Wish I Could Be There, Shawn realized that his fate was inextricably linked to his sister’s, and that their natures were far from being different. Twin highlights the difficulties American families coping with autism faced in the 1950s. Shawn also examines the secrets and family dramas as his father, William, became editor of The New Yorker. Twin reconstructs a parallel narrative for the two siblings, who experienced such divergent fates yet shared talents and proclivities. Wrenching, honest, understated, and poetic, Twin is at heart about the mystery of being inextricably bonded to someone who can never be truly understood.
Allen Shawn is the author of the critically acclaimed Wish I Could Be There and Arnold Schoenberg’s Journey. He is a composer and pianist, and has written for the Atlantic Monthly, the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times Magazine, and other publications. He lives in Vermont and… More about Allen Shawn
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