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Chang and Eng Paperback – May 3 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reissue edition (May 3 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452281091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452281097
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13.5 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #128,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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By Schmadrian TOP 500 REVIEWER on Aug. 11 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had to force my way through this novel. The premise...loss of independence, loss of privacy, loss of identity...was enough to depress me time and again. (It still has that effect now, writing this review.) So I have to admit a bias.

It wasn't entertaining. It was well-written, thoughtfully executed...but not entertaining.

But then, how entertaining can something be when you're wincing so often you need either shiatsu or a chiropractic session every time you turn the page?

As a début, 'Chang and Eng' is a fabulous indicator of Mr. Strauss's talent. I'm looking forward to the rest of his novels...which I happen to have beside me right now.

But I won't ever be going back to re-read this one.

Personal rating: 7/10
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By A Customer on May 28 2004
Format: Paperback
Unconvincing fictional account of the lives of Chang and Eng, told in the first person. First person fictional novels about real people are usually unconvincing - this is a long narrative of Eng's thoughts, about which the author could know nothing. Therefore, it seems to me to be an account of how the author thinks he would feel if he were Eng - which is rather self-indulgent of the author. Add to that the fact that the author's point of view is 20th/21st century while the events he discusses occurred in the 19th century and you see why the book is so unconvincing.
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Format: Paperback
The story of Chang and Eng Bunker's long, interesting existence is rife with literary possibilities. Strauss certainly does a good job of arranging these possibilities, particularly during the scenes set in Thailand. Among the questions he subtly lays out for the reader to ponder are:
What role does privacy have in shaping an individual's personality?
How would we develop if we had to continually share our existence with another individual?
Were Chang and Eng really two halves of one person?
Would we see Chang and Eng any differently than our ancestors saw them?
Given these interesting questions, one would think that Chang and Eng is an extraordinary book. Sadly, it never realized its potential. This failure stemmed from Strauss' decision to center the book on Chang. Having only one person narrate the story seemed to be an odd creative choice for a novel that is about the (arguably) world's most famous pair of Siamese twins. It's possible that Strauss made the decision to focus the story after having trouble finding a suitable voice for Eng. However, instead of focusing the story, I was left wanting more narrative devoted to Eng's character. Specifically, I wanted to know who Eng was and what he was feeling, instead of having Chang filter those depictions and feelings through his narration. By the time I finished the book, I felt I had read a story that should have been titled "Chang."
Usually, I enjoy it when a book leaves me wanting more. That's especially true when a book contains vivid depictions of locations and interesting philosophical questions. But, in the case of Chang and Eng, these strengths were overshadowed by incomplete characterization in both the main characters and the supporting characters. I can only hope that Strauss' next work is a book that gives appropriate depth to all its characters.
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Format: Paperback
There were a few hard to believe scences (the lynching) but overall, this was a suprising, interesting and wonderfully warm historical novel.
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Format: Paperback
When I was a little girl, the Guinness Book of World Records fascinated me. I have very vivid memories of staring, intrigued, at the photo of Chang and Eng Bunker, the "first" Siamese twins. That very same photo now sits on the cover of Darin Strauss' elegantly written novel, *Chang and Eng*. I suppose that fascination is what drew me to read the book, and Strauss does not disappoint.
The story really belongs to Eng, the more serious (and less prone to drink), brother. He struggles throughout with conflicting feelings of love for his brother and his passionate desire to be free of him. (If you've read *I Know This Much To Be True* by Wally Lamb, this is reminiscent of the lead character's conflicted relationship with his schizophrenic twin, though Eng's struggle is further complicated by the simple fact that he physically *cannot* leave his brother.) Eng also struggles with his feelings of desire for his brother's wife, and with his need to be respected as an intelligent man, not a spectacle.
While I cannot say how much more I truly know about the Bunkers given that this is not a biography but a novel, I was intrigued and entertained by both the story and Strauss' graceful language.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! I could not put it down from the first paragraph to the very last! It's a historical romance, biography, fiction all in one. It's hard to categorize it.
It's a beautiful novel and I enjoyed it very much.
I'd recommend it to anyone and especially people who are interested in the off the wall or strange.
There is a lot of history in this book it tells about Siam, London and North Carolina back in the 1800's and what people were like in both cultures at the time and how the twins were treated.
How they fell in love, had sexual relations and 21 children.
They had seperate personalities and minds but would jump into a handstand without a word passed between them. Amazing! Interesting!
You can't really tell what is fiction or true which left me wondering but the author did a good job at making it all seem very believable. You can almost believe that it is Eng who wrote the book.
The author had such a great understanding of what it must of been like to be connected to someone for over 60 years, maybe because he is a twin himself.
He did a good job making it enjoyable and interesting.
Read this book if your looking for something that you can't put down!!!
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