Autodidact: self-taught


Monster: Oil on Canvas

by V. L. Craven

Alex and Alex are conjoined twins convinced of their royal lineage. Their belief is predicated on a painting of a young man who looks remarkably like them. They paint a copy of said painting in order to better understand it any may or may not have stolen the original.Their quest is to find the mysterious and elusive Doctor Fo-fo, who will be able to separate them.

They fall in love three times with Love, Hope and Faith, all tragic affairs for a variety of reasons.

Alex and Alex’s story is interspersed with the story of Vera (Russian for ‘Faith’), who is a possibly mute orphan adopted by English speaking parents (where they live is never mentioned). Vera’s is raised by Nanny who may or may not tell her stories in a made up language.Their stories fit together believably and perfectly.

Monster is a fairy tale for grown ups, a dream fiction for the literate, deliciously full of symbolism, Nabokovian word play and a tone reminiscent of The Tin Drum. Highly recommended.

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