Tuesday 20 March 2018

Twin Truths by Shelan Rodger BLOG TOUR @ShelanRodger @DomePress #TwinTruths

What is the truth? And how do you recognise it when you hear it? Jenny and Pippa are twins. Like many twins they often know what the other is thinking. They complete each other. When Pippa disappears Jenny is left to face the world alone, as she tries to find out what happened to her 'other half.' But the truth, for Jenny, can be a slippery thing.

Twin Truths by Shelan Rodger was published by Dome Press on 15 March 2018. I'm really pleased to host the Blog Tour for this fabulous book on Random Things today.

It's almost four years ago since I originally read Twin Truths and it's a story that has stayed with me; here's what I said about it then:

Truths. What is the truth? How do you know if the story you are being told is the truth? Maybe the person who is telling the story thinks it is the truth. Maybe they know that it isn't.

The reader meets Jenny, one of a pair of identical twins, in Argentina where she teaches English. Jenny tells many variations of the truth, depending on who she is talking to, and how much she wants to shock them. Jenny is in therapy, we are not sure why at first, and we certainly don't know if she is telling the truth. She soon ensures that her therapist becomes part of her life in a way that he never intended, but like most people around Jenny, he seems to fall for her stories.

Something bad happened to Jenny, something bad that involved her twin Pippa and when we meet Pippa, we hear her truth. Identical twins, but identical truths? Wait and see!

That's all I can say about the characters and the plot, any more and I'd tell too much.  Twin Truths is a complex, challenging and at times, difficult read. It is a story that examines relationships, devastation, loss and connections, it explores the bond between siblings and most importantly, between twins. That seemingly unbreakable connection that threads itself through everything that these women do.

Shelan Rodger is an author who conjures up evocative pictures with very few words, but each word is carefully chosen to form passages that are quite beautiful.
Twin Truths is a novel that will divide readers. It's difficult, yet satisfying.  A novel that sort of wraps itself around you and doesn't let go until the very last word. 


I'm delighted to welcome the author, Shelan Rodger here to Random Things today, she's written a fabulous piece about 'The Library in Us All';

The library in us all

Every one of us is a library. A library of memories: books that have been read and partially forgotten, books we stumble upon at unexpected moments and remember as we look back through the shelves of time.  If you turned the phases of your life into a library of books, what would the titles be?  

Here are a few of mine, at random, as they occur to me:  
· Petrol-sniffing, Pukamani poles and rain dancing
· Don’t cry for me Argentina
· Love in Egypt
· Stuck 
· Turquoise wedding
· Black cotton and elephants
· Meltdown
· Olive-oiled  

I could go on! Quite a fun exercise actually, and of course, although you would need to know me very well or ask me questions to get under the skin of the titles, for me they are just emotional shorthand – the joy of being one’s own librarian!  

But there are endless other books inside our library that are more secret, the potential selves that lie onion-layered within us. Don’t you have the feeling sometimes that you could have lived another life, or a whole host of other lives? That you could have been (or could still be) a zoologist studying gorillas, or a dramatherapist changing lives in prison, or a blues singer, or a mother, or a Buddhist, or, or, or… And those are just the labels. The core of what lies beyond the labels takes you into a realm of myriad identities and this is one of the things that fascinates me most about the human mind.   

We love to think – are encouraged to think – that there is an essence inside us that defines us: our personal identity … as if there were only one. And yet there is lots of philosophical debate about what identity really is, not to mention research that indicates it’s just an illusion. Which is where I love the metaphor of each of us as a library. Full of books, brimming with books that may or may never be read, every book a possibility in the untapped universe of ‘me’. We are dealt a set of cards and yet what we do with those cards can take us down very different paths. And those paths connect and intersect with all sorts of other paths and forks in the road - each one another possible book. 

It is this fascination with personal identity that fuels the drama of Twin Truths. Jenny, striving to make sense of who she is when the goal posts change, on the slippery search for truth. Twin Truths – two truths: the truth the protagonist has lived and the retrospective truth that is discovered. In the end, which one is more real?  In the end, they are just two of the books in her library.

Shelan’s life is a patchwork of different cultures and landscapes; she was born in northern Nigeria, growing up among the Tiwi - an aboriginal community on an island north of Darwin, and moved to England at the age of eleven. She then travelled to Buenos Aires after graduating in Modern Languages from Oxford, and stayed for nine years. Then another chapter in England, followed by six years in Kenya on flower farms by Lake Naivasha and the lower slopes of Mount Kenya.

Now, Shelan lives in Andalucia, Spain. She has learnt in and outside many classrooms around the world, teaching in some of them too. Her professional career has revolved around international education, learning and development, with an emphasis during her time in Kenya on anti-discrimination.

Shelan’s first book, Twin Truths, was published by Cutting Edge Press in 2014, followed by Yellow Room, also in 2015.

As of 2017, The Dome Press acquired the rights to these two titles and Yellow Room was released in October 2017, with Twin Truths following in March 2018.

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