One Out of Two

August 1, 2017

The most distinctive thing about the Gamal sisters is that they are, essentially, indistinguishable (except for a modest mole). The twin spinsters spend their time trying to mask any perceptible differences they have, while working hard at their thriving tailoring business in a small town in rural northern Mexico. When? Thirty years ago? Fifty years ago? Who can say—the world seems not to intrude on Ocampo over much.

Gloria and Constitución take an almost perverse delight in confusing people about which one is which. But then a suitor enters the picture, and one of the sisters decides that she doesn’t want to live a life without romance and all the good things that come with it. The ensuing competition between the sisters brings their relationship to the breaking point—until they come up with an ingenious solution that carries this buoyant farce to its tender and even liberating conclusion.

Suffused with the tension between our desire for union and our desire for independence, One Out of Two is a giddy and comic fable by one of the giants of contemporary Latin American literature.

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