Vanishing Twins
"It's like we're the same person. We finish each other's sentences. This is what we've been taught to desire and expect of love. But there's a question underneath that's never addressed: Once you find someone to finish your sentences, do you stop finishing them for yourself?"As long as she can remember, Leah has had the mysterious feeling that she's searching for a twin—that she belongs as one of an intimate pair. It begins with friends, dance partners, and her own reflection in the mirror as she studies ballet growing up; continues with physical and emotional attractions to girlfriends in college; and leads her, finally, to Eric, whom she moves across the country for and marries. But her steadfast, monogamous relationship leaves her with questions she can't answer about her sexuality and her identity, so she and her husband decide to try an open marriage.How does a young couple make room for their individual desires, their evolving selfhoods, and their artistic ambitions while building a life together? Can they pursue other sexual partners, even live in separate cities, and keep their passionate original bond alive? This memoir in fragments looks for answers in psychology, science, pop culture, art, architecture, Greek mythology, dance, and language, to create a lucid, suspenseful portrait of a woman testing the limits and fluidities of love.

Vanishing Twins Details

TitleVanishing Twins
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 4th, 2018
PublisherSoft Skull Press
ISBN-139781593762919
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography

Vanishing Twins Review

  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    Vanishing Twins is a memoir about a marriage – but it is also so much more. It is an exploration of identity and gender, of growing up and finding oneself, of culture and literature, of ballet and advertising. I adored this.Leah Dieterich frames her story both in ballet and in the science of vanishing twins, using metaphors and literary analysis to construct a picture of her twenties and her marriage. She meets her husband Eric fairly young and gets married to him at an age where most people are Vanishing Twins is a memoir about a marriage – but it is also so much more. It is an exploration of identity and gender, of growing up and finding oneself, of culture and literature, of ballet and advertising. I adored this.Leah Dieterich frames her story both in ballet and in the science of vanishing twins, using metaphors and literary analysis to construct a picture of her twenties and her marriage. She meets her husband Eric fairly young and gets married to him at an age where most people are still trying to find themselves. Their symbiotic relationship starts to feel limiting and she proposes an open marriage to explore her queerness.The book is told in (very) short, fragmented essays (one of my favourite styles) that grow to a convincing whole. I love how the author does not try to fit everything into a cohesive narrative, because life just isn’t that way. As she muses on her marriage and distinct memories, she also writes about other things in-between, mostly ballet but also philosophy and art history. I obviously adored this, there are few things that make me as happy as brilliant, clever memoirs. I have said countless times, I love when women unapologetically put themselves front and center in their art and Leah Dieterich does this, impressively so. One of my favourite aspects was the fact that she realizes her tendency to mirror people she is close to – from her sense of style to her haircut. I loved how this was addressed time and time again. It showed the aspects of her lovers that she most felt drawn to and it illuminated the growing distance between her husband and her while simultaneously underlining the bond between them.There is a lot to admire here: from her clean prose to her insightful analysis of everything between ballet and advertising to art. I found this a highly rewarding reading experience that has me excited for more to come from Leah DieterichI received an ARC of this book courtesy of Soft Skull Press for review consideration. My opinions are my own. You can find this review and other thoughts on books on my blog.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 thoughts soon.
  • Kevin
    January 1, 1970
    Leah Dieterich weaves a few different themes through her memoir but the strongest threads that make Vanishing Twins a remarkable reading experience are the ones about her marriage. The flow of fragmented ruminations and life stories boldly push the emotional envelope of love and trust. Sometimes when you read essays or memoirs about someone's lovelife, their heart seems small and delicate, but here, in these dazzling pages, Dieterich's heart feels large, expanding, and brave.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I started to read this book months ago, but it wasn’t the right time, so I stopped and read some other things. Looking at the dates on Goodreads, I realized I returned to it exactly three months after I started it. The timing was perfect. I found myself open and emotional, crying at certain parts and marveling at the deftness with which Leah Dieterich makes connections and choreographs metaphors. I would like to write a book like this someday.
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  • Julia Sherman
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book for anyone who has, will be or is currently in a romantic relationship. It's a timely look at the dynamic of coupledom, one that I found fascinating, and relatable.
  • Edina Paljevic
    January 1, 1970
    I did not enter this book knowing much about what it would be like or who the author is. I did not even hear any reviews on it before hand. I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. This book discusses identity and gender as well as women's hardships. Her memoir discusses love within a marriage and the hardships that occur throughout it. I myself am not married but by reading about her marriage, I felt like I learnt a lot. This book ended up being stuck in my head for the next fe I did not enter this book knowing much about what it would be like or who the author is. I did not even hear any reviews on it before hand. I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. This book discusses identity and gender as well as women's hardships. Her memoir discusses love within a marriage and the hardships that occur throughout it. I myself am not married but by reading about her marriage, I felt like I learnt a lot. This book ended up being stuck in my head for the next few days because I couldn't get some of the passages out of my head.
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  • Chris Roberts
    January 1, 1970
    A married couple are stoney mouth,I counted two words passed at their dinner party. Why bother?Same-game marital-scape, after five years, exit stage left, escape, easy-smooth divorce, have her/his infidelity on tape. #poemChris Roberts, God of Simultaneous Time
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  • David Gerrard
    January 1, 1970
    A masterclass in subtle, layered, beautiful prose that also tells a riveting, unconventional love story
  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed how this was written. Little bits and pieces of the story all tying together. *received ARC from book giveaway*
  • Eblison
    January 1, 1970
    It's refreshing to read a memoir as real as this one. I always feel like authors polish up the best parts and skate over the tarnish. Not Dieterich. She gives us such an honest narrative. This book is brilliant. It has me wondering if maybe I have a twin somewhere.
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  • Chelsea Bieker
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this memoir--Dieterich offers a meditation on so many things--twinship, love, sex, bodies, place, art and more. Told in beautiful sparse prose, the vignettes come together to create such a sure narrative of a loving marriage that feels wholly surprising and tantalizing. Think Maggie Nelson, Sarah Manguso and Joan Didion mixed with Dieterich's original energy. This is a book I wanted to savor, but instead read feverishly in about two sittings. This book has really stayed with me.
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  • Uriel Perez
    January 1, 1970
    'Vanishing Twins' compounds snapshots of dance, the twin-ness of life, and unspoken desires to reap a startling meditation on love's dissolution and rediscovery.Leah Dietrich's writing feels true and utterly vulnerable; the story she shares, of the dive into an open marriage with her husband of nearly a decade, is plagued with doubt, specters of shame and existential terror. The emotional whirlwind of this book cuts deep. And remarkably, it is the most uplifting thing I've read in a long time.
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  • Clara Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Leah's voice is artful and unfolds the complexity of desire in surprising ways. She is deft in her juxtapositions of love and movement and creates space for exploration through her storytelling.
  • Gabe
    January 1, 1970
    beautiful read. both the style and content, together, really capture something subtle & elusive about our inner narrative—its inscrutability, maybe? highly recommend.
  • Jessica Herman
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved and devoured this book. Leah's writing is brilliant--the way she describes so honestly the tensions and contradictions in partnering with friends and lovers, the layers of meaning she uncovers in language and imagery, her own story that is nothing short of completely captivating. I couldn't recommend this book highly enough.
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    Like a fever dream. I kept reading hoping for what, I don't know. I didn't like her; I didn't like him. I didn't like any of the characters. Nevertheless, a somewhat compelling, and easy-ish read, lots of white space. the author obviously knows how to write, but I ultimately was unsatisfied. I won a copy from Shelf Awareness.
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  • Drew
    January 1, 1970
    A stunning memoir; Dieterich's journey with her identity, sexuality and relationships with others paints a portrait that I felt connected to. I expected to read a narrative of one's marriage, but it was so much more: an education on ballet, vanishing twins, and pursuing answers even when you're unsure of the question. I'm thankful this piece of literature exists!
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  • Sabrina
    January 1, 1970
    A raw, honest take on a subject that isn't talked about enough. So compelling and beautifully written that I devoured it in one sitting. I admire anyone who is willing and able to share their truth the way Leah does in Vanishing Twins.
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    I did not realize that this was a memoir until this very moment. I completely devoured this book.. I loved the way seemingly unrelated topics and ideas were intertwined in such a thoughtful and rational way. Each little paragraph is like a perfect little nugget of loveliness.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    So I’m not quite sure how to describe this book or my feelings about it. It’s so cerebral at the same time that it’s corporeal. It’s the story of a ballet dancer who’s obsessed with twins: convinced that she has vanishing twin syndrome, which is a thing that apparently happens if you had a twin absorbed in the womb, she is always searching for a person or a pursuit to complete her. I find the concept of vanishing twin syndrome fascinating, probably because as a kid I was also totally obsessed wi So I’m not quite sure how to describe this book or my feelings about it. It’s so cerebral at the same time that it’s corporeal. It’s the story of a ballet dancer who’s obsessed with twins: convinced that she has vanishing twin syndrome, which is a thing that apparently happens if you had a twin absorbed in the womb, she is always searching for a person or a pursuit to complete her. I find the concept of vanishing twin syndrome fascinating, probably because as a kid I was also totally obsessed with twins and really wanted one. I would stare endlessly at any pair of twins I saw. I’m a little dubious about vanishing twin syndrome being a real thing, but it’s interesting to think about. Anyway the point is that, in her twin-seeking reality, the narrator brings any and all concepts of twinship into the story of her exploring her queer identity, the experiment of her and her husband’s open marriage, her relationship with her work partner (arguably the most intimate in the entire book), and her feelings about/pursuit of art. It’s twisty but not confusing. At some points I got a little... bored? Annoyed? with the desperation with which the protagonist navigates her relationships; it made her seem very self-absorbed at times. But overall this was a great read!
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  • Krystina
    January 1, 1970
    I highly recommend this memoir. I read the first 70 pages, expecting not to like it, in front of its shelf at the bookstore. I felt like the clerk kept giving me the “just buy it already” eyes, so I did. I read the rest of it curled up in bed that night. The author feels incomplete. That she must have had a twin in the womb that vanished and now she needs to seek this twinness in others. She finds a twin in her childhood friend, in her office companion, in her husband, and the androgynous women I highly recommend this memoir. I read the first 70 pages, expecting not to like it, in front of its shelf at the bookstore. I felt like the clerk kept giving me the “just buy it already” eyes, so I did. I read the rest of it curled up in bed that night. The author feels incomplete. That she must have had a twin in the womb that vanished and now she needs to seek this twinness in others. She finds a twin in her childhood friend, in her office companion, in her husband, and the androgynous women she dates. She mirrors them, feeling like this doubling of people makes them more whole. She’s really dependent on this need for another person to be by her side, which I find annoying, but the author is honest about it and not afraid to look bad, which I like. The author is a good writer and it smooths out the dislike I have for her personality. Of course, what the author is looking for is to accept the dual nature she has within herself. There’s a lot about ballerina life in here, some about language and communication, some about an eating disorder, and some about wanting to return to the comfort of being a part of your mother.
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  • Pam Mooney
    January 1, 1970
    A remarkable book that will certainly have a different meaning for every reader. I found the vanishing twin theme the most intriguing as I have had some of the same feelings. Although itreads like a novel it is a memoir that is truly written from the heart and documents a search for a life style that fits and offers comfort. It feels honest and vulnerable and quite off the norm as the author works through her personal and professional relationships. The dance references add a bit of insight to t A remarkable book that will certainly have a different meaning for every reader. I found the vanishing twin theme the most intriguing as I have had some of the same feelings. Although itreads like a novel it is a memoir that is truly written from the heart and documents a search for a life style that fits and offers comfort. It feels honest and vulnerable and quite off the norm as the author works through her personal and professional relationships. The dance references add a bit of insight to the author and how things are and how she may have expected or wished them to be. A great journey with lots of heart and a good read.
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  • Zac Smith
    January 1, 1970
    beautifully written. gripping, intense, with a strong narrative. strong essay elements, citations, summaries, definitions. huge emphasis on linguistic ambiguity, wordplay, language. ballet, sex, biology, architecture. it's an incredible story. i can't imagine writing it, let alone so writing it so well. i just tore through this. love the short short chapters. love the themes. read this book. read it.
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  • Heather Trudeau
    January 1, 1970
    This was different from what I usually read, but it was a quick read since it was small excerpts. Having just read another book about marriage (The Marriage Pact) it was interesting to read something that was the extreme opposite - having an open marriage. While I couldn't really identify with the characters thoughts and feelings, it was still an good read.
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  • Rhea
    January 1, 1970
    Stunning autofiction. I loved the metaphors about twinship in regards to an enmeshed young marriage in which one person is queer - I related, hard! Ultimately this book is about the search for the self through relationship. I loved it.
  • Alexa M
    January 1, 1970
    I read this in 2.5 days. It's a breeze to read due to the topic at hand and it's fragmented writing. I wouldn't say it is a favorite though. It didn't provoke any intense emotions for me.
  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    Another fragmentary memoir, which really seems to be my jam lately.
  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    Swings between some beautiful writing about ballet and boring writing about the author's marriage and polyamory.
  • Daisy
    January 1, 1970
    Original. And smart. And brave.
  • Drew
    January 1, 1970
    This reads more like a novel than a memoir -- and I can't exactly tell you what I mean by that, except that that's how I experienced the book. It's got Manguso/Nelson-y short pages / short paragraphs and it flows along to a pattern of its own. The beginning, with its tales of ballet and college, reminded me of the way I felt reading The Art of Fielding -- and the middle/end reminded me of reading Valeria Luiselli. It's not an easy book to love, but an easy one to like and admire. It will not con This reads more like a novel than a memoir -- and I can't exactly tell you what I mean by that, except that that's how I experienced the book. It's got Manguso/Nelson-y short pages / short paragraphs and it flows along to a pattern of its own. The beginning, with its tales of ballet and college, reminded me of the way I felt reading The Art of Fielding -- and the middle/end reminded me of reading Valeria Luiselli. It's not an easy book to love, but an easy one to like and admire. It will not convince you one way or another about polyamory or about marriage, but it will give you cause to admire Dieterich's honesty and compassion for her subject: herself, and her husband.
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