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“What's happening here?” Les Greenleaf demanded, after Renata had been sedated into a peaceful slumber and we'd returned to Fallon's office. “I thought you told us that she has total amnesia.”
“Evidently, it's not quite as total as we thought,” Fallon replied, grinning broadly. “I think this might be a major breakthrough.”
“Why does she recognize Mark and not us?” Inga sounded offended.
“I haven't got the faintest idea,” Fallon confessed, “but the fact that she recognizes somebody is very significant. It means that her past isn't a total blank.”
“Then she'll get her memory back?” Inga asked.
“Some of it, at least. It's too early to tell how much.” Fallon looked at me then. “Would it be possible for you to stay here for the next few days, Mark?” he asked. “For some reason, you seem to be the key to Renata's memory, so I'd like to have you available.”
“No problem, Doc,” I replied. “If the boss can drop me off at my place, I'll grab a few things and come right back up the hill.”
“Good. I'll want you right there when Renata wakes up. We've made a connection, and we don't want to lose it.”
Les and Inga took me back to my place when we left the sanitarium. I tossed some clothes and stuff into a suitcase, grabbed some books, and drove my old Dodge back to Lake Stevens. I was as baffled as everybody else had been by Renata's recognition of me, and it'd caught me completely off guard. There'd been a kind of desperation about the way she'd clung to me—almost likesomebody hanging on to a life raft.
“We don't necessarily have to mention this to her parents, Mark,” Fallon told me when I reported in, “but I think you'd better be right there in the room when Renata wakes up. Let's not take any chances and lose this. All the rooms here have surveillance cameras, so I'll be watching and listening. Don't push her or say anything about why she's here. Just be there.”
“I think I see where you're going, Doc,” I told him.
The shot Dr. Fallon had given her kept Twink totally out of it until the next morning, and that gave me time to think my way through the situation. I was still working through my grief at losing my parents, but it was time to put my problems aside and concentrate, here and now, on Twink. If she needed me, I sure as hell wasn't going to let her down.
I pushed the reclining chair over beside her bed, pulled the blanket up around my ears, and tapped out.
When I woke the next morning, Renata was still sound asleep, but she was holding my hand. Either she'd come about halfway out of her drug-induced slumber and found something to hold on to, or she'd just groped around for it in her sleep. Then again, it might have been me who'd been looking. It was sort of hard to say.
One of the orderlies brought our breakfast about seven, and I tugged on Twink's hand a couple of times. “Hey, sack-rat,” I said, “rise and shine. It's daylight in the swamp.”
She woke up smiling, for God's sake! That's sick! Nobody smiles that early in the morning!
“I need a hug,” she said.
“Not 'til you get up.”
“Grouch,” she accused me, her face still radiant.
That first day was a little strange. Twink watched me all the time, and she had a vapid look on her face every minute. I tried to read, but it's awfully hard to concentrate when you can feel somebody watching you.
There was also a fair amount of spontaneous hugging.
I checked in with Dr. Fallon late that afternoon, and he suggested that I should probably let Twink know that I wasn't going to be a permanent fixture. “Tell her that you'll have to go back to work before too much longer. Let her know that you'll visit her often, but you have to earn a living.”
“That's not entirely true, Doc,” I told him. “I've got a few bucks stashed away.”
“You don't need to mention that, Mark. We don't want her to become totally dependent on your presence here. I think the best course might be to gradually wean her away. Stay here for a few more days, and then find some reason to run back to Everett for an afternoon. We'll play it by ear and see how she reacts. Sooner or later, she's going to have to learn how to stand alone.”
“You're the expert, Doc. I won't do anything to hurt her, though.”
“I think she might surprise you, Mark.”
There was another bout of hugging when I got back to Twink's room. That seemed just a bit odd. There hadn't been much physical contact between the twins and me in the past, but now it seemed that every time I turned around, she had her arms wrapped around me. “Renata,” I said finally, “you do know that we aren't alone, don't you?” I pointed at the surveillance camera.
“These aren't those kinds of hugs, Markie.” She shrugged it off. “There are hugs and then there are hugs. We don't do the other kinds of hugs, do we? And I wish you wouldn't call me ‘Renata.' I don't like that name.”
“I'm Twinkie, remember? Only people who don't know me call me ‘Renata.' I knew that I was Twinkie the moment I saw you. It was such a relief to find out who I really am. All the ‘Ren-blah-blah' stuff made me want to throw up.”
“We don't get to pick our names, kid. That's in the mommy and daddy department.”
“Tough cookies. I'm Twinkie, and I'm so cute and sweet that nobody can stand me.”
“Steady on, Twink,” I told her.
“Don't you think I'm cute and sweet, Markie?” she said with obviously put-on childishness, fluttering her eyelashes at me.
I laughed. I couldn't help myself.
“Gotcha!” she crowed with delight. Then she threw a sly glance at the surveillance camera. “And I got you too, didn't I, Dockie-poo?” she said, obviously addressing Dr. Fallon, who was almost certainly watching.
“Dockie-poo?” I asked mildly.
“All of us cute and sweet nutcases make up pet names for the people and things around us. I have long conversations with Moppie and Broomie all the time. They aren't too interesting, but a girl needs somebody to talk to, doesn't she?”
“I think your load's shifting, Twink.”
“I know. That's why I'm in the nuthouse. This is the walnut ward. They keep the filberts and pecans in the other wing. We aren't supposed to talk with them, because their shells are awfully brittle, and they crack up if you look at them too hard. I was kind of brittle when I first got here, but now that I know who I really am, everything's all right again.”
She was sharp; she was clever; and she could be absolutely adorable when she wanted to be. I definitely hoped that Doc Fallon was watching. I was certain that her distaste for her name was very significant. Now she had “Twinkie” to hold on to, so she could push “Renata”—and “Regina”—into the background. Maybe “Twinkie” was going to be her passport back to the world of people who call themselves “normal.” ••• I stayed for a couple more days, and then I used the “gotta go to work” ploy Fallon had suggested to ease my way out—well, sort of. I didn't really stay away very much. As soon as I got off work at the door factory, I'd bag it on up to Lake Stevens to spend the evening with Twink.
Once she'd made the name-change and put “Renata” on the back burner, Twink's recovery to at least partial sanity seemed to surprise even Dr. Fallon. Evidently, her switchover to “Twink” was something on the order of an escape hatch. She left “Regina” behind, along with “Renata,” and she seemed to grow more stable with each passing day.
Dr. Fallon decided that she was doing well enough that it'd probably be all right if she took a short furlough for Christmas.
It was a subdued sort of holiday—1995 hadn't been a very good year for any of us. Twink's aunt Mary, her dad's sister, was about the only bright spot during the whole long holiday weekend, which might seem a bit strange, in view of the fact that Mary was a Seattle police officer. But she'd always been fond of the twins, and now she refused to treat Twink as if she were damaged merchandise—the way Les and Inga did. She smoothly stepped over the blank spots in Twink's memory and more or less ignored her niece's status as a mental patient on furlough. That seemed to help Twink, and the two of them grew very close during that long weekend. That in turn helped me raise a subject that had worried me more than a little.
It was on Christmas Day that I braced myself and finally broke the news to Twink that our schedule was about to change. “I'll still be living at home, Twink,” I reassured her, “but I'll be going to classes at the university instead of working at the door factory. I'll have to study quite a bit, though, so my visits might be a little shorter.”
“I'll be fine, Markie,” she said. Then she gave me one of those wide-eyed, vapid looks. “Have you heard the news? Some terribly clever fellow named Bell came up with the niftiest idea you ever heard of. He calls it the telephone. Isn't that neat? You can visit me without even driving up the hill to the bughouse.”
Mary suddenly exploded with laughter.
“All right, Twink.” I felt a little foolish. “Would it bother you if I gave you a phone call instead of coming up there?”
“As long as I know that you care, I'll be fine. I'm a tough little cookie—or hadn't you noticed?”
“Maybe you two should clear that with Dr. Fallon,” Inga suggested, sounding worried.
“I'll be fine, Inga,” Renata assured her. For some reason, Twink had trouble with “Mom” and “Dad,” so she called her parents by their names instead. I decided to have a talk with Fallon about that.
After the holidays, I returned to the university and started taking seminars, beginning with Graduate English Studies. That's when I discovered just how far down into the bowels of the earth the main library building extended. I think there was more of it underground than above the surface. Graduate English Studies concentrated on “how to find stuff in the Lye-berry.” That deliberate mispronunciation used to make Dr. Conrad crazy, so I'd drop it on him every now and then just for laughs.
I was still commuting to Everett, even though the two hours of driving back and forth cut into my study time quite a bit. I had a long talk with Twink, and we sort of worked out a schedule. I'd visit her on weekends, but our weekday conversations were held on the phone. Dr. Fallon wasn't too happy about that, but headshrinkers sometimes lose contact with the real world—occupational hazard, I suppose.
Renata's amnesia remained more or less total—except for occasional flashes that didn't really make much sense to her. Her furloughs from the hospital grew more frequent and lasted for longer periods of time. Dr. Fallon didn't come right out and say it, but it seemed to me that he'd finally concluded that Twinkie would never regain her memory.
Inga Greenleaf, with characteristic German efficiency, went through Castle Greenleaf and removed everything even remotely connected to Regina. •••
When the fall quarter of 1996 rolled around, Dr. Conrad decided that it was time for me to get my feet wet on the front side of the classroom, so he bullied me into applying for a graduate teaching assistantship, the academic equivalent of slavery. We didn't pick cotton; we taught fresh- man English instead. It was called Expository Writing, and it definitely exposed the nearly universal incompetence of college freshmen. I soon reached the point where I was absolutely certain that if I saw, “. . . in my opinion, I think that . . .” one more time, I'd be joining Twinkie in the bughouse.
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted August 19, 2004
I love this book. It's a great story, part mystery, part thriller. The writing is excellent and the characters really cool. I reccomend this book for every real Eddings fan.
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Posted December 8, 2013
Posted August 25, 2013
I'll be honest and say that the first time I read this, I was disappointed. I adore Eddings and deeply regret not meeting him when he was living. This book threw me, as it is not in the style I've come to expect in his (and his wife's) writing, but upon rereading the book, I realize it stands on its own. Yes, some parts are not as well fleshed as they could be, but this is true of many books. I enjoyed his charecters, especially the twin twist, and while the ending flowed the way I expected, the slight twist at the very end really shook me initially, as I was blind-sided by it. This book is similiar to High Hunt and The Losers, so if you like this, I highly recommend the others.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 5, 2012
I am a huge Eddings fan and have read every single one of his book. So when I picked this one up at the store I was quite surprised at the kind of story he was writing. After reading it I loved it and hoped that Eddings would do more along this line. Long story short this is a nice deprature from his usual high fantacy style.
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Posted June 13, 2012
I loved this book all the way up until the end. I felt the ending wasn't as developed as it could have been and I was left not fully satisfied with the story. The topic is great and this book could have been phenomenal BUT there was something lacking. Although I can't quite put my finger on what... characters for one, the ending second. I think from two authors who don't mind writing over 1000 pages for one fantasy novel, they could have done a better job with it. The subject itself is fascinating and if nothing else, at the end, you'll feel like you need to do more research on identical twins and the way they function.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 19, 2004
Lester Del Rey was a genius, and it is shameful to see Del Rey Books publishing such complete tripe. It has thoroughly shaken my trust in them. I have read worse, but never have I been so disappointed by a book. Towards the end I was actually cursing as I turned the page and it just kept going. The dialogue is generic and cliched. The narrative is generic and cliched. The only part that kept me going was a genuine interest in how it turned out. Then came the chapel scene with the headlights etc. At this point I threw the book at the ground and didn't read for several days. When I picked it back up, it was with a hope that I was having a big joke played on me, sort of like Andy Kauffman's early Latka standup, and at the end I would realize that David eddings was a genius and never should have doubted him. And it was a joke - Barnes and Noble laughed as they took my money. I have read the Belgariad books. I was very young, but I did notice that Mr. Eddings had a poor, even laughable concept of how women think. It seems that his wife is in no way helping the situation. If he hadn't actually put in the year in the text, I would have assumed it took place about 50 years ago or so. He states that the only thing sorority girls want is to find a husband. He CONSTANTLY makes references to people's race as if it meant something. 'You're all alone here with two Swedes and an Italian? You definitely need help, brother.' 'Would living in the same house as a black man give you any problems?' 'Inga was obviously of German extraction', and so forth. The main character's (Mark) race is never mentioned. Mark was born in Washington, got his Masters of Arts degree from the University of Washington, and taught college English. Charlie (the only other main character whose race is not mentioned) works for Boeing. Mr. Eddings was born in Washington, got his Masters of Arts degree from the University of Washington, taught college English, and used to work for Boeing. This leads us to believe that these characters are the same race as Mr. Eddings, presumably Anglo-Saxon. I suppose Mr. Eddings either feels that only male Anglo-Saxons will read his book, or that a black man reading his book would say 'You don't mind living with a black man? How noble!' or an Italian might say 'We ARE usually Catholic! Right on the nose!' or a Swede might say 'Hey, I am tall blonde and busty. You've got us down!' (BTW, the average Swedish cup size is A. Thanks, Popup Video) In total, buy this book. It's cheap, and you'll never believe how bad it is until you read it. Also, try counting how many times he uses particular cliches, like 'gloss over.' Maybe you could make a drinking game out of it.
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Posted August 24, 2004
Posted June 21, 2004
As an older adult, I have to admit to the guilty pleasure of reading David & Leigh Edding's Belgairiad, Malloreen & Sparhawk series. When I saw this title on the used book shelf at a garage sale I had to purchase it; and oddly enough, I am glad that I did. It is a radical, and enjoyable, departure from the good/evil fights of the other books, but there are some problems. The character development could have been fuller. For instance, Mark seems to be the one real, fleshed out character; Sylvia, James, even Regina/Renata don't have the depth necessary to fully carry the story. The death of one of the twins is treated almost as a sidebar, not as the catalyst it is supposed to have been. There are many unanswered questions, too. What was the timing of the surviving twin(s) choosing Mark's visit to regain her ability to speak human, as opposed to twin? What was the wolf song all about? Why were the wolves figured into this at all? However, there was a strong creepy factor, with the memories of the twins, the religious angle, the murders themsevles, and especially the shocker at the book's finale, that made up for some of the other weaknesses. I would really like to know if Mark and the others are going to be involved in more adventures...
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Posted April 2, 2004
I first became a fan of the Eddings duo when I read the Belgariad series and fell in love. I have read other works by them and have enjoyed them. So I went into this book with high hopes. Boy was I disappointed. This book reads as if it was a first novel by a mediocre writier. The dialogue was unbelievable.....not to mention some of the events that happen to the plot. I found it very difficult to read the entire book and seriously thought about putting it down several times. If you are a fan of Eddings then run away from this book as fast as you can! This is a horrible book which drags on to an even more horrible ending! If this is the first book of their's that you have read.....please don't think their other novels are like it. Their other books are so much better.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 15, 2003
It isn't high literature, but it is a very good read. I actually liked this more than the Belgariad. It had a little more edge to it. They do tend to just totally skip any foreshadowing and just hand you major plot points, but the characters are well written and pleasantly quirky. It is a decent mystery and I would love to see these characters again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 22, 2003
first of all this book is nothing like the eddings' previous works, save perhaps for high hunt. while it does leave some unanswered questions, so does every other book ever written. if you enjoy the style of the belgariad-malloreon and elenium-tamuli as opposed to only liking the story, you should find this an enjoyable read. the story, while not fully developed, is good, but, as with all eddings books, what makes this one a keeper are the entertainingly idiosyncratic characters and storytelling. all in all, while it doesn't live up to the belgariad-malloreon, this book is still very much worth reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 13, 2003
I have read all of the work that David Eddings has produced and this by far was the worst story i have read. The dialogue gets to the point that it is annoying, the story feels more like a list of things ie. I went to the bookshelf, i picked up the book, i walked to the desk etc. Its horribly boring and a dissappointment to people who loved Eddings' style of writing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 16, 2003
I first bought this book because i loved the Eddings' fantasy work; I wasn't even sure I would ever get around to reading it but Im really glad I ran out of reading material over spring break. I honestly couldn't put the book down, but i just found that I was in the minority on that one. Sure, I think they could have developed the woman/wolf song more, elaborated the characters and made the dialouge a little more believable, but I read for entertainment only. I don't like to spend all my free time dissecting books like I have to do every other day in Honors English, but I guess I'm the only one anymore who doesn't have to go over the book with a fine-toothed comb for everything that should've been better. Read the book when you have an open mind, if only for an afternoon or two of enjoyment.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 18, 2003
First of all he is trying to write a book that isn't in his writing style. He needs to stick with fantasy. All of the books revolving around the Belgariod were awesome. There were some good parts to the book, but the only reason I finished was to see what happens. I wish I could have given him no stars.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 11, 2002
It's difficult to believe he once taught English. This book is on par with a freshman creative writing class. The dialogue is painful and repetitious. The plot, although promising, plods endlessly. The middle third of the book can be deleted without loss. I had enjoyed some of his early SF, but it seems Eddings has not improved his craft with time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 3, 2002
I adored the fantasy Eddings books but this one is a total disappointment. If it had been written by unknown authors, I'm sure it would never have been published. The dialogue is wincingly bad; often a sentence has not one, but two cliches. Although the plot sounds good it has no suspense and poor delivery. I don't understand how the Eddings can create believable characters in fantasy and such hollow constructions in reality-based fiction. There are so many things wrong with this novel that it could be used in a writing class as what not to do.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 5, 2002
The plot had so much potential to be interesting, but I agree with other reviewers that some information was repeated unecessarily. Also, the dialogue seemed to be a tad contrived. Though I have not read any of their SF books, I thought that I picked up on several occasions where the characters in Regina's Song were taking on SF qualities- much of their language was very florid. It was not impressive or enjoyable to a reader who wasn't crossing over with them from SF to thriller fiction. I think that is a pet peeve of mine. I would recommend this book to a friend though, simply because the plot is too difficult to explain.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 14, 2002
I'm giving it three stars. It had lots of potential to be a good plot, but there are some things about it that seem kinda like they where just thrown in. Erica, one of the characters, really had no reason to be there. Most of the characters didn't get the attention they deserved. Only Sylvia and Mark (a little bit) where the only real characters in the book. I think that the eddings' have a ceretian formula that they follow. Two of the stars are for them, because they wrote a book with charcters that weren't poor shades of people from their earlier works. I think in this one they attempted to make it work, but their past expierence got in the way. There was simply too many characters, and some of the character placement should have been changed. For example .. Renata should have been a main character, not just a secondary one. I would have also liked to see some of Mark's students show up in the book as well. This book is, as 3 stars is supposed to imply, okay, but not great.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 11, 2002
Did you ever read a book and then couldn't really tell people what it was about? I could give you the plot outline of this book, but you'd really do better to read it yourself. Was Regina murdered? Does Renata survive? Or, even more haunting, is there really a difference between the two? Read this book, you'll be glad you did. The Eddings duo that we all know and love have shown how truely talented they are with this literary triumph. Think you know Eddings? You don't know this.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 14, 2002
Be warned that this review contains a fw minor spoilers. 'Regina's Song' promises an incredibly interesting concept that the authors never fully deliver. The mysterious bond between the twins Regina and Renata never gets fully explained, not in any way that is satisfying. The story reads more like a mystery novel (which was fine with me, because I love that genre just as much as fantasy), but with no warning, a supernatural element is introduced two-thirds of the way into the book. Up until that point, the book moves all too slowly, especially for a mystery novel. Elements that are horribly unnecessary bog down the story. While at first I liked the main character who tells the story, I eventually disliked him which is the worst thing that can possibly happen in a first person novel. Mark turns out to be a know-it-all who constantly noses his way into other people's business. No sooner had I celebrated that the book was finally advancing its plot than the authors hit the brakes again. This time, with a compentency hearing which reiterates *everything* from the first two-thirds of book. In the end, I felt the Eddings needed to commit to a genre. Either they should have abandoned the supernatural element altogether, or they should have focused more on the fanastic elements in Renata's life. Considering how minimal the supernatural element was, they probably should have ditched that. As awful as this might sound, I was even disappointed in the way they handled the murder of Regina. That murder is crucial to the book, and the finer details that would give that scene life are lacking. In the end, I wanted less of the main character preaching about literature, carpentry and religion. What I did want was a whole lot more of the murder mystery. If Mark had built one more set of bookshelves or taught one more class in that book, I would have screamed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.