The Girl Who Was Saturday Night

I got up at 6 AM to finish this book. I wish I’d written my thoughts immediately after finishing it, but I wanted to float on the cloud it propped under me. Magical work, terrifically tender, funny and ferocious writing. A story of 20 year old twins, famous (in Quebec) for having been on TV as children with their crooner father who largely abandoned them. Their mother abandoned them as babies on the father’s doorstep, not being able to raise them herself at 14 years of age. The narrator is the female twin, the steady and positive contrast to her brother’s manic negative. She’s fantastically strong, plowing through social scenes and choosing who she wants to be with at the moment. She finds solace in the corpulent body of Misha, an old Russian man she occasionally sleeps with (“He was always doing magic tricks. That was one of the truisms about dating older men”). Adam, the non-Quebecois, is madly in love with her (bizarre story of how Nicolas met Adam by banging on the door where their mother had worked as a nanny, finding friendship with the boy who was raised by his mother while Nicolas and Nouschka raised themselves). But Raphael is the one who she falls for, whom she marries and has his child.
Of course, the larger story is her connection to her twin, Nicolas. She spends the first six chapters introducing us to various characters and neighborhood sights and smells, but searching always searching for Nicolas. She finds him in chapter seven, splayed out on the bed fully clothed (they share a small bed, something that raises eyebrows around the neighborhood), having been out on a robbery in an attempt to get money to support his young son. From the beginning, she’s driven to connect with yet separate from him, taking classes to get her high school diploma, thinking about moving out. A film crew hovers around the edges of the story, desperate to get new footage of the lovely Tremblay family who looked so adorable on TV but were/are such a mess in real life.
I hate to nitpick, but yet again we have evidence of the decline of editors in publishing. There’s an error in continuity, p 255 “When I finished my shift, I saw him sitting in the restaurant across the street from the magazine store,” but fifty pages earlier she’d gotten a different (better, farther downtown) job (p 205 “I got the job at Place Des Artes.”) I don’t deliberately look for this stuff, but it conks me on the head and disrupts my flow unpleasantly.
Reco’d by Kate Bolick