Ludmila's Broken English

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"On a Tuesday in May, in terror-struck London, Blair and Bunny Heath become the first adult conjoined twins ever successfully separated. Later that year, in the war-torn Caucasus, Ludmila Derev accidentally kills her grandfather. By December, Ludmila and the twins find themselves trudging together through a snow field, staring down the barrel of a rebel's gun." Ludmila has set out on a journey west to save her family from starvation and marauding Gnez troops. The Heath twins have been released from a newly privatized institution rumored to have
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Overview

"On a Tuesday in May, in terror-struck London, Blair and Bunny Heath become the first adult conjoined twins ever successfully separated. Later that year, in the war-torn Caucasus, Ludmila Derev accidentally kills her grandfather. By December, Ludmila and the twins find themselves trudging together through a snow field, staring down the barrel of a rebel's gun." Ludmila has set out on a journey west to save her family from starvation and marauding Gnez troops. The Heath twins have been released from a newly privatized institution rumored to have been founded for an illegitimate royal baby. They are plunged into a round-the-clock world churning with opportunity and rowdy with the chatter of freedom, self-empowerment, and sex. Dangerous cocktails and a Russian brides Web site throw these unforgettable characters together with explosive results.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Pierre's debut, Vernon God Little, won the Man Booker and the Whitbread prizes in 2003; the book narrated a grim and bizarre Columbine-like aftermath in smalltown Texas. Here, Pierre widens his scope in comparing and combining the sordid lives of formerly conjoined twins in the U.K. with that of a seductress from the war-torn Caucasus. The author, whose pen name initials stand for "Dirty But Clean," begins by highlighting the adult Heath twins' childish antics in a terror-threatened London. Upon their medical separation as adults (effected in a prologue; they were conjoined at the abdomen) and release from a private institution, Blair, intrepid and sexually ripe, and Bunny, a feeble asexual, enter the real world and must learn to rely on one another in new ways. Meanwhile, miles away in Ubilisk-Kuzhniskia, the beautiful, sarcastic Ludmila Derev has accidentally killed her incestuous grandfather, the family's sole breadwinner, and must save her family from starvation. Her sharp tongue pulls her into a Russian brides Internet scam, throwing her in the path of the traveling Heath brothers. With a mix of offbeat composition and intoxicating insight, Pierre's dystopian work is in a genus all its own; he succeeds in shocking his audience with this maddeningly entertaining encore. (May 8) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Ludmila trudges out of the Caucasus in search of help for her starving family-and runs into Blair and Bunny, conjoined British twins who have just been separated. Only daring (and controversial) Booker Prize winner Pierre would risk a plot like this. With an 11-city tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Stylistic bravura can't sustain interest in this overextended narrative with an underdeveloped plot. Consider this the sophomore slump for the Pierre, whose debut novel, Vernon God Little (2003), won Britain's Man Booker Prize despite polarized critical response. Here, Pierre continues to display a subversive delight in the possibilities of language (from titillation to disgust), but the corrosive vitality of its dialogue is about all this story has going for it. There are two plots, with thousands of miles between them, which the reader hopes will attain greater significance once they inevitably converge. Against a backdrop of terrorism in London, one story concerns the first successful surgical separation of conjoined twins, 33-year-old brothers named Bunny and Blair (not the most subtle of political references). Bunny is the brains of the two (and never thinks about sex), while Blair is the life force (who thinks of nothing but sex). If only one can survive, there's some question as to which is the host and which is the parasite. The second plot features the titular Ludmila, trying to escape with her boyfriend from the war-torn Caucasus. Her major assets are her breasts (though this isn't the word Pierre's characters use) and her rudimentary command of English. After her incestuous grandfather dies while attempting to rape her, leaving her family in dire financial straits, she reluctantly becomes involved in a Russian mail-order-bride racket, thus sparking a visit to Russia by Blair (and Bunny). Perhaps the "Broken English" of the title refers to the twins as well as to Ludmila's language skills. Perhaps not. Nothing else in this stick-figured, incongruously plotted, gratuitouslyindulgent novel seems to mean much, so why should that? If this is meant to be a send-up of globalization (or anything else), it misses the mark. Some of the material might have generated laughs as a five-minute Saturday Night Life "wild and crazy guys" sketch, but it quickly wears thin as a novel.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Front page review: As impossible to predict as it is to put down....It's as if when you open the covers Pierre's cartoonish figures bubble up to act out dramas in some alternate dimension.”
People
“Pierre's sensuous, often vitriolic language suits a story that, while not for the fainthearted, is viciously funny and sad.”
Financial Times
“Pierre's prose is so exuberant it nearly bounces off the page....Proves Pierre is definitely more than a one-hit wonder.”
People
“Pierre's sensuous, often vitriolic language suits a story that, while not for the fainthearted, is viciously funny and sad.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393062373
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/8/2006
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

DBC Pierre

DBC Pierre’s first novel, Vernon God Little, won the Man Booker Prize. His other novels include Ludmila's Broken English and Lights Out in Wonderland. He lives in County Leitrim, Ireland.

Biography

DBC Pierre was raised in Mexico between the ages of 7 and 23, although he has also traveled extensively. He lived a very privileged life in the milieu of that 2 percent of Mexico that holds the country's wealth and spent much time in the USA. Despite a very unrealistic, or "fairy-tale" childhood, he found himself more in tune as a child with the other 98 percent of Mexicans, and increasingly escaped home to run with the street crowd. When, at 16, his father fell gravely ill, he was largely entrusted with the family home, its cars and staff, and without recourse to counsel or reason, in his grief embarked upon a life of blithe self-destruction, alongside another half dozen junior rakes. Only two of them survived their twenties, and then only just:

"Mexico, with its contrasts, its crushing poverty and sparkling wealth, its institutionalised corruption and cultural wisdom, its love of life and its embracing of death, undoubtedly set me on a path toward the deep end, philosophically and emotionally speaking. A fast and careless life had put me in tune with the common man, for whom a throw of the dice would mean life or death. When, as a teenager, I set out for Texas to bring cars over the border, I saw that the same divides applied to the richest country on earth. Truest kinship was found in a group of homeless derelicts who camped under a bridge beside where I used to stay. It is in their broken-down lives that the seeds for Vernon were planted."

DBC Pierre has worked as a designer and cartoonist and currently lives in Ireland. Vernon God Little, his first novel, was awarded the 2003 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and the Booker Prize.

Author biography courtesy of Faber and Faber Ltd.

Good To Know

Pierre's true-life journey from debt-ridden drug addict to Booker Prize winner has been a stranger-than-fiction ride. He told the Guardian, "For nine years I was in a drug haze, on a rampage of cocaine, heroin, anything I could get. I am not proud of what I have done and I now want to put it right."

During his dark years of gambling and drug addiction, he once even sold the house of his best friend—and stole the proceeds.

In addition, he ran up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt by taking part in a scheme to find Montezuma's gold in Mexico.

He has said that the £50,000 check awarded with the Booker Prize would go about one-third of the way to settling his outstanding debts.

Pierre landed a publishing deal for his first novel one hour before the first plane hit the World Trade Center on September, 11, 2001. "Ever since, I feel like there's some dark destiny swirling around the book," he said.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Peter Finlay (real name)
    2. Hometown:
      Ireland
    1. Date of Birth:
      1961
    2. Place of Birth:
      Reynella, Australia

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