Reviews - What do customers think about Chang y Eng (Spanish Edition)?
JUST WE TWO... Aug 25, 2005
This is the Spanish text edition of an ambitious and intriguing debut novel, which is based upon conjoined twins, Chang and Eng, who were born in Siam during the nineteenth century. It is through them that the term "Siamese Twins" entered the vernacular. Here, the author takes known facts about these famous twins and weaves an expertly woven story about their lives, while attempting to individualize them, giving each of them their own distinct and unique personality.
The author tells the story of the conjoined twins through the first person narration of Eng. Born in 1811 in a house boat on the Mekong River in Siam, which is now known as Thailand, Chang and Eng entered the world linked together at the chest by a fleshy band of cartilage. It would be this short band of flesh that would forever bind them together, ensuring that they would never have a truly private moment. For their entire lives, they would be bound to each other, and the two would be forced to live as one.
The author explores their private and often strange lives, which the reader views through Eng's eyes. It is through his intimate thoughts that the reader envisions how the twins may have possibly viewed their own lives. The reader follows the path that their lives took, from their poverty stricken childhood on the Mekong River to their presentation to the King of Siam. It then shows how, as adolescents, they came to arrive in America, where they were displayed as oddities. Eventually, they became an international sensation, becoming nineteenth century celebrities.
Amazingly, they went on to marry two sisters, Adelaide and Sarah, with whom they fathered a total of twenty-one children. Chang and Eng set up house in North Carolina, where they raised their family. Still, this book is not so much about the factual portion of their lives, but rather, about the thoughts of Eng, as he and Chang pass through life together. It is a very intimate, insightful look at their lives and, in particular, the longings of Eng to experience life as most do, as one and not as two.
This is a well-written and delicately nuanced work of historical fiction that is highly imaginative. Instead of having the reader remain on the outside of the lives of Chang and Eng, looking in, the author manages to take the reader into their lives, having the reader look out onto the world from the perspective of Eng. Through Eng, the reader sees the twins as having two very distinct and unique personalities and realizes the angst that they must have experienced in never being able to have a truly private moment. At times, Chang and Eng appear to have had a love-hate relationship. This is a poignant and haunting look at these two individuals, who were, by necessity, constrained to live as one.