When Lucy Brennan, a Miami Beach personal-fitness trainer, disarms an apparently crazed gunman chasing two frightened homeless men along a deserted causeway at night, the police and the breaking-news cameras are not far behind. Within hours, Lucy becomes a hero. Her celebrity is short-lived, though: the "crazed gunman," turns out to be a victim of child sexual abuse and the two men are serial pedophiles.
The solitary eye-witness, the depressed and overweight Lena Sorenson, thrilled by Lucy's heroism and decisiveness, becomes obsessed with the trainer and enrolls as a client at her Bodysculpt gym. It quickly becomes clear that Lena is more interested in Lucy's body than her own. Then, when one of the pedophiles she allowed to escape carries out a heinous sex attack, Lucy's transition from hero to villain is complete. When Lucy imprisons Lena, and can't stop thinking about the sex lives of Siamese twins, the real problems start. In Lucy and Lena, Irvine Welsh has created two of his most memorable female protagonists, and one of the most bizarre, sadomasochistic folie a deux in contemporary fiction."The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins"taps into two great obsessions of our time how we look and where we live and tells a story so subversive and dark it blacks out the Florida sun."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-10-20
- Reviewer: Staff
In his latest, a reliably maniacal spin on the Pygmalion tale, Welsh (Skagboys) leaves his familiar Edinburgh for Miami Beach, a “sun-drenched refuge for strutting grotesques and desperate narcissists.” Lucy Brennan is a tough, foulmouthed, sadistic, bisexual personal trainer who, when she’s not finding novel ways to insult her clients and hitting Miami’s nightclubs, diligently tracks her calories with an app called Lifemap. She becomes a media sensation when Lena Sorenson, an overweight, immensely successful artist sorely lacking in self-confidence, records her heroically intervening to stop a murderous assault. As for Lena, Lucy’s newly enamored admirer, her sculptures imagine “future humans” as we might evolve in millions of years. Thus the two dissimilar, damaged women are less opposites than unlikely twins, both sculptor and trainer being “in the molding business.” Lena hires Lucy to help her lose weight, a task that Lucy, at once repulsed by and attracted to her charge, takes outlandishly criminal steps to accomplish. The satirical jibes at an America “swamp in blubber” are entertaining enough, but the novel is less effective at fleshing out its over-the-top and badly behaving comic caricatures. Listening to the libidinous Lucy’s vulgar diatribes wears thin, and occasionally feels a little too like one of those exhausting workouts of which this antiheroine would certainly approve. (Feb.)