Writing about siblings from the London Review of Books
‘My childhood can never let me down as a guide to human complication.’
– Andrew O’Hagan
‘Most of us who have siblings dream about being an only child,’ Colm Tóibín writes in his introduction. ‘Part of the joy of being a novelist is to erase all trace of siblinghood and present a character facing destiny without brothers and sisters … Not having siblings gives them autonomy, and that, in turn, becomes a sort of power.’ The Bensons and the Brontës, the Jameses and the Joyces, the sisters Austen and the brothers Mann, are joined here by pieces about Elizabeth and Margaret Windsor, the only children (‘little emperors’) of China and the Marx Brothers. ‘The Big Problem’, an essay by Adam Phillips that hasn’t been published before, completes the collection.
Featuring: John Bayley, Dinah Birch, Terry Castle, Stanley Cavell, Jenny Diski, Anne Enright, Penelope Fitzgerald, Deborah Friedell, Andrew O’Hagan, Adam Phillips, Tony Tanner, Colm Tóibín and Sheng Yun