Wednesday 23 May 2018

'In Search of Us' review: Feuding twins unite in manhunt

Fiction: In Search of Us, Maria Duffy, Hachette Ireland, €14.99

In Search of Us
In Search of Us

Margaret Carragher

Maria Duffy's latest novel opens with its twin protagonists Veronica (Ronnie) and Elizabeth watching a video recorded three months previously by family friend Frank Logan of their mother Belinda on her deathbed. In it, Belinda reveals that the twins' father, whom they'd always believed had been a random, one-night stand, was in fact someone their mother knew well - "a good man, but circumstances prevented him from being involved in your lives". Belinda then proceeds to tell her daughters how much she loves them before urging them to track down their father.

With that, the video ends and the twins, confounded by their mother's revelations, proceed to bombard Frank with questions. But Frank simply pleads ignorance and passes on letters which do little but reiterate what she said on her farewell video.

And so armed only with their father's name, Oliver Angelo; occupation, busker and song-writer; a faded snap of a long-haired, barefoot hippy sporting a tattoo; and a New York address that may or may not be relevant, the twins head stateside on what seems almost certain to be a wild goose chase; not least because the once inseparable pair are now barely on speaking terms, thanks to an unexplained but obviously bitter falling out some six years earlier.

However, being back in New York - where, as children and teenagers they'd spent many happy times with their mother - prompts the twins to call a truce of sorts, as they set about their search for Oliver Angelo.

But as events unfold it appears they're looking in all the wrong places for their exotically named father.

As a plot device, the notion of jetting off in search of someone equipped only with a photo and decades old contact details is somewhat flimsy in our information age.

That said, it does serve to reconcile feuding twin sisters and tie up loose ends in this simple, feelgood tale.

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