With and Without Her
A Memoir of Being and Losing a Twin
By Dorothy Foltz-Gray
(Argo-Navis, Paperback, 9780786754205, 197pp.)
Publication Date: October 2012
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This is a story that, when told directly, shuts people up, the kind of story that drives people to change the subject, or cross the street when they see the teller coming. In 1949, author Dorothy Foltz-Gray and her identical twin sister, Deane, were born. In 1981, Deane, then a psychologist, was fatally shot by one of her patients. In the years between, the pair formed an almost supernaturally close bond, one so intimate that at times, their memories fused and their individual identities dimmed.
Here, Foltz-Gray, an award-winning poet and journalist, recounts not only the extraordinary phenomenon of growing up in a world that could not distinguish her from another human being, but also the struggle to survive the loss of her twin. Foltz-Gray describes the imagined womb life she and her sister shared, their childhood and family, and their dreams of sharing each other’s lives. She also details the nightmare of her sister’s death, its immediate aftermath, and her attempts to recover her self.
With and Without Her is the story of what happens when a life divides into before and after. It is a story of identity and individuation, confusion and competition, intimacy and separation, violence and murder. Most of all, it is the story we all face, of loss and survival.