Beyond the Book: Background information when reading 26a

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

26a by Diana Evans X
26a by Diana Evans
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2005, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2006, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

This article relates to 26a

Print Review

Diana Evans is a graduate of the University of East Anglia's Creative Writing MA, and lives in London.  She has published short fiction in a number of anthologies, has worked as a journalist and arts critic for several magazines in the United Kingdom, and writes regularly for the Independent and Stage. She recently won the 2005 Orange Prize for New Writers for 26a (The Orange Prize for Fiction, supported by the Arts Council England, has been awarded annually for 10 years but last year was the first year for the Orange Award for New Writers).

Diana Evans was prompted to write her first novel following the suicide of her own twin sister.  She says, "It stopped me in my tracks ... I wasn't really satisfied with what I was doing. It threw me and made me think that life is too short."  She sees 26a as a tribute to the world of twins, in an interview in 3ammagazine.com she says being a twin "is a very special, magical relationship and it's fascinating, even to me ... most people build armor to protect themselves from other people but when you're a twin, everything's stripped down. You know each other so intimately and you don't have that armor."

With regard to suicide, she says that while most see it in a negative way, she has learned that there is a more positive and magical side, she says, "It's about a person freeing themselves. It is actually a very courageous thing to do. To leave can be braver than to just stay here and struggle on, never knowing whether you'll ever be happy."   For obvious reasons, writing 26a was especially hard for her - she felt a burning passion to complete it and felt a great sense of relief when it was done, but not in a cathartic sense.   She put her life on hold while writing it, and has promised herself that she will be less intense with the next book, which she is writing in bursts while her baby daughter sleeps.

Talking about her second novel, currently in progress, Diana says "I'm at that agonizing, chaotic conceptual stage where the idea is much, much bigger than I thought it was and I realize terrifying things, such as the small matter of having to research the entire history of the entire world, for instance. I’m also casually working on a short story about a little girl who gets sucked into a hoover (vacuum cleaner)".  

Amongst her favorite books she includes Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex; Jean Rhys's After Leaving Mr Mackenzie; Mark Doty's Heaven's Coast, Stardust by Neil Gaiman; short story collections by Raymond Carver, Jackie Kay, Anton Chekhov and Ali Smith; and the poems of Rita Dove and Mary Oliver; and in particular The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

This "beyond the book article" relates to 26a. It originally ran in November 2005 and has been updated for the September 2006 paperback edition.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Daisy Jones & The Six
    Daisy Jones & The Six
    by Taylor Jenkins Reid
    In this evocative novel written in the format of an interview with members of a fictional music ...
  • Book Jacket: The Age of Living Machines
    The Age of Living Machines
    by Susan Hockfield
    In the face of looming global challenges, such as overpopulation, resource depletion and disease, Dr...
  • Book Jacket
    The Mars Room
    by Rachel Kushner
    There is palpable tension between expectation and reality in Rachel Kushner's third novel. The ...
  • Book Jacket: The Guest Book
    The Guest Book
    by Sarah Blake
    Sarah Blake's critically-acclaimed third novel The Guest Book was a hit with our First Impressions ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    More News Tomorrow
    by Susan Richards Shreve

    An irresistible portrait of a family drawn together in search of truth.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Her Kind of Case
by Jeanne Winer

A highly-recommended emotion-filled legal drama with three starred reviews!

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Guest Book

The Guest Book
by Sarah Blake

"An American epic in the truest sense."
—Entertainment Weekly

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

M I Haste, R A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.