Review of ‘The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins’ by Irvine Welsh (2014)

IT’S A METAPHOR. The title is a metaphor, which is unfortunate. Not to worry! There is a fair amount of strange sex and peripheral media coverage of some conjoined twins, but the title more points to how we often see ourselves in our rivals- in our opposites- in the things we often hate. Oh, sorry, this book is dark (Irvine Welsh).

Irvine Welsh
My books are sad sometimes!

Sex Lives of Siamese Twins sets up our bad-ass lady protagonist, Lucy, in first-person POV as she takes down an armed assailant. Right place right time? Lucy is a bi, independent personal trainer with a lot of opinions. I don’t know how intentional this is, but I love her immediately, because I love strong, divisive personalities (when I don’t have to interact with them for very long). But you know how, often, the more a person talks, the less you think of them? The more full of shit they turn out to be? Holden Caufield comes to mind.

I’m not a phony you’re a phony.

This is about obsession more than anything- how hating can be a form of worship if something occupies our mind space for so long. It’s about the infatuated and equally dismissive nature of our culture and how it’s undoing humanity. It’s about projecting and piercing through filters and self-deception as a means of societal function. This book is toxic psychological snake pit- in a fun way!

(From Jackass, another fun toxic psychological snake pit!)

Welsh takes us down crooked little avenues throughout the unraveling (of both character and story), making an otherwise short-story-worthy plot a grotesquely decorated dissolution of ego, media, and modern culture. Welsh’s brand of squirm is unmistakable and in rare form. The first-person POV makes the page count (468) crack along quickly. It was nice to see an unaffected dialect ie. the Scottish nausea of Malibu Stork Nightmares.

Enjoy reading this book in public, catching strangers scowling at the title, and then screaming at them, “IT’S A METAPHOR!” I know I did, although my kids will probably never be invited to another birthday party.

Disgusted child

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