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Description - I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

Huge American bestselling novel that tells of identical twins: a paranoid schizophrenic and his brother whose life is dominated by his resentment of and love for his damaged twin Dominick Birdsey's whole existence is coloured by the knowledge that his twin brother can never be fully responsible for his frightening behaviour, while he himself has beaten the biochemical odds to remain sane. But at what cost? This powerful, heartwrenching drama draws on the deepest human emotions: the need to know oneself, responsibility to family, the influence of hidden history. The result is a highly acclaimed novel of survival, written with great sensitivity.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780006513230
ISBN-10: 0006513239
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x 49mm)
Pages: 912
Imprint: Harper
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 17-Apr-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

UK Kirkus Review » Dominick Birdsey and his identical twin Thomas came into the world as 1949 became 1950. And fortysomething narrator Dominick has always had Thomas - a physical mirror image - as a shadow over his life. The book opens with schizophrenic Thomas's dramatic act of self-mutilation as a protest against American military involvement in the Gulf and it follows Dominick's attempts to deal with the latest lurch into a more terrible form of madness. The story of the brothers' lives is told in scenes that recall the bleak honesty of Raymond Carver, and Dominick's quest to rid himself of the demons of his past and come to terms with the man he has become are apparently the reworking of an ancient Hindu myth. His journey nevertheless encompasses much of the American experience, and takes him back to the Sicilian roots of his immigrant grandfather, in a story that while at times hard to read is hard to put down. Lamb's writing, even at the moments of greatest pain and despair, is compelling in its vital sensitivity, his characters are uncomfortably real and the mystery of Dominick's family becomes intriguingly complex before answers, though not always the expected ones, are found. Powerful, absorbing and unforgettable. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Both a moving character study and a gripping story of family conflict are hidden somewhere inside the daunting bulk of this annoyingly slick second novel by Lamb (the popular Oprah selection She's Come Undone, 1992). The character (and narrator) is Dominick Birdsey, a 40-year-old housepainter whose subdued life in his hometown of Three Rivers, Connecticut, is disturbed in 1990 when his identical twin brother Thomas, a paranoid schizophrenic whose condition is complicated by religious mania, commits a shocking act of self-mutilation. The story is that of the embattled Birdseys, as recalled in Dominick's elaborated memory-flashbacks and in the "autobiography" (juxtaposed against the primary narrative) of the twins' maternal grandfather, Italian immigrant (and tyrannical patriarch) Domenico Tempesta. But Lamb combines these promising materials with overattenuated accounts of Dominick's crippled past (the torments inflicted on him and Thomas by an abusive stepfather, a luckless marriage, the crib death of his infant daughter), and with a heavy emphasis on the long-concealed identity of the twins' real father - a mystery eventually solved, not, as Dominick and we expect, in Domenico' self-aggrandizing story, but by a most surprising confession. This novel is derivative (of both Pat Conroy's The Prince of Tides and the film Dominick and Eugene), it pushes all the appropriate topical buttons (child abuse, AIDS, New Age psychobabble, Native American dignity, and others), and it works a little too hard at wringing tears. But it's by no means negligible. Lamb writes crisp, tender-tough dialogue, and his portrayal of the decent, conflicted Dominick (who is forced, and blessed, to acknowledge that "We were all, in a way, each other") is convincing. The pathetic, destroyed figure of Thomas is, by virtue of its very opacity, both haunting and troubling. A probable commercial bonanza, but both twice as long and not as much as it should have been. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb's first novel, 'She's Come Undone', won rave reviews when it was published in 1992. It was a finalist in the 'Los Angeles Times' First Novel Award, a Top Ten book for 'People' magazine and a Notable Book for the 'New York Times'. Both 'She's Come Undone' and 'I Know This Much Is True' have been chosen for Oprah's Book Club. Wally Lamb now teaches writing at the University of Connecticut. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and their three sons.

Books By Wally Lamb

I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb
Paperback, June 2017
We Are Water by Wally Lamb
Paperback / softback, August 2014
I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
Paperback / softback, August 2013
Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb
Paperback / softback, November 2010