Theodora Keogh’s Gemini

I just finished reading Theodora Keogh’s 1961 novel, Gemini. As I mentioned in my previous post, it is about a brother and sister who are lovers. Their attraction for one another is never fully explained; it is part of their mysterious connection as twins, a magical force unknowable to outsiders. As such, it is difficult to make an argument either for or against their incest (or to tell whether the novel itself does so)–they never make an argument for it, it just is, and there is thus nothing to “agree with” or “disagree with.” I am anti-incest, but the book did not horrify me or get my hackles up. The plot itself elicited an “eh, whatever” response. If Keogh intended it to be shocking, it no longer accomplishes this purpose.

However, I really enjoyed reading this book! Keogh’s use of language is beautiful in a smooth, languid way. Her prose is clear, with enough physical detail that I could easily picture in my mind the small Long Island village where the story takes place. One indicator of when a book is well-written is when its descriptions of food make me hungry, and Gemini had me craving good seafood the entire time (too bad I live in Utah!). I found myself really savoring the novel throughout its entirety. It makes me want to read more of Keogh’s writing, which is one of the best compliments a book can receive.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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