Twin Studies

by Keith Maillard

September 1, 2018
6 x 9, paper, 576 pages
CDN $24.95

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A Globe and Mail Best Book of 2018

An engrossing, timely, and contemporary novel about the bonds between twins, about sexuality and gender fluidity, and about the messy complexities of modern family life — the much-anticipated new novel, the first in more than a decade, from acclaimed writer Keith Maillard.

Dr. Erica Bauer — an identical twin — studies twins at the university in Vancouver. Through the course of her research, she meets a set of preteen twins who are evidently fraternal, but who insist emphatically that they are identical. Their mother, Karen Oxley, is a West Van single mum whose life is on the wrong road — and who discovers an urgent need to put it back on the right one. As Erica sets out to help the twins, their lives become increasingly intertwined in unexpected ways.

Twin Studies is a masterful novel that explores the complicated bonds between twins and siblings, friends and lovers; the role of class and money; and the nature of gender and sexuality. Its characters are real, their relationships a rich world that readers will thoroughly lose themselves in. No other contemporary novel so deftly explores the intersection between our inner lives and our public lives — that “we’re not what people see.”

Read an excerpt of Twin Studies in Maisonneuve Magazine

Praise for Twin Studies

“Keith Maillard’s Twin Studies is a novel that challenges everything we think we know about family and the nature of love. Three sets of twins struggle with loss, identity, and adulthood, and in the middle of it all, Karen, a beleaguered, beautiful, and wryly intelligent mother, tries to keep everyone afloat, even as she feels her own life slipping under the weight of responsibility and confusion. Deliberately written, fiercely inventive, and unflinching, Twin Studies is a deeply satisfying novel by one of Canada’s finest authors.” Jen Sookfong Lee, author of The Conjoined

Praise for Keith Maillard

“[A] work of terrible beauty and grace, a masterpiece fit to contend with the best novels of the last century.” — Globe and Mail

“Maillard is a national treasure.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A cast of soulful characters, a heartfelt examination of gender identity, and a meticulously detailed portrait.” — Booklist

“[A] compelling and beautifully crafted epic about the strength of individual character.” — Quill and Quire

“Rings utterly true . . . with a wicked sense of humor that keeps a reader hanging on his every word.” — Detroit Free Press

“This beautifully detailed novel . . . is an enormously entertaining read.” — Marie Claire

Reviews and interviews

“Keith Maillard’s long-awaited new novel opens with an e-mail from twins Jamie and Devon to the Interdisciplinary Twin Studies Program at a Vancouver university. Despite weighing in at 576 pages, it never flags. It turned out to be the perfect length for this story of gender and sexual fluidity and the emergence of one unconventional family.” —The Globe and Mail

“[T]his new fiction deepens and extends the fascination with power, gender, death and beauty that has characterized all his earlier work, and it finds the author working at the peak of his considerable talents as he explores the uncanny elements of the twin experience. . . . This novel is that very rare work: a story that grapples with difficult intellectual issues without ever abandoning the novelist’s primary duty — compelling narrative. Maillard can deal with complexity at all levels and turn it into engaging story and moving lyrical beauty.” — Vancouver Sun

“Keith Maillard is one of this country’s consummate stylists . . . Twin Studies is a magnum opus that examines issues of gender fluidity, sexuality, class, and family dynamics.” — Quill and Quire

“Maillard’s generous affection for his characters is matched by his vividly real depictions of Vancouver. His fascinating exploration of wealth, class, and gender fluidity reads like a 21st-century Canadian version of Dickens’ London novels.” — iBooks