This short novel is about two older twin brothers living on a farm in Wales and seeing the 20th century pass by their very eyes. We begin with the central and important image of the two of them, now in their late 70s sleeping in the same bed together, aged, infirm, close to the end of their lives as they look out into the world of the late 1970s — Jimmy Carter, the end of the hippie era, the rise of Thatcherism. We then jump back to the meeting of their parents in the late 1890s, a world-traveling daughter of an archaeologist falling in love with a peasant farmer in Wales. The twins are born into a world of farming and conservatism. They grow up and they divert slightly in their lives as one becomes bookish and the other not so much, but after the war, they return and buy the farm together from the landlord and enter into a decades long financial struggle to keep things afloat as their lives remain intertwined. This novel is really funny and weird and has some hints of magical realism, and reminds me a lot of The Tin Drum among others attempting to trace the details and history of the 20th century from many many different perspectives.
I wasn’t super enthused about reading this at first because both the description and the cover seemed kind of boring. And in a way this book is, but it’s also just really good.