Twin: A Memoir (Paperback)

A Memoir

By Allen Shawn

Penguin Books, 9780143120223, 232pp.

Publication Date: February 28, 2012



"Extraordinary...An unsparing but deeply compassionate inquiry into family] life."
-Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

As Allen Shawn probed the sources of his anxieties while writing the acclaimed Wish I Could Be There, he realized that his fate was inextricably linked to his autistic twin sister. Mary, who has lived in a residency center for more than fifty years. Twin offers a deeply personal account of their divergent lives, and examines society's changing attitudes toward and understanding of autism. It also provides an intimate look at the Shawns' idiosyncratic family life with their father, the famed longtime editor of The New Yorker, William Shawn. Wrenching, honest, understated, and poetic, Twin is at heart about the mystery of being profoundly bonded to someone who can never be truly understood.

About the Author

Allen Shawn is the author of the critically acclaimed Wish I Could Be There and Arnold Schoenberg's Journey. He is a composer and pianist, and has written for The Atlantic Monthly, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times Magazine and other publications. He lives in Vermont and is on the faculty of Bennington College.