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Ratings and Reviews (11 11 star ratings
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  • 5 person found this review helpful

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    Get yourself a copy!

    Let's start at the beginning. One-Two is set in the 1980s and 1990s of Russia, in the Soviet Union era and particularly during the Perestroika period. From the onset, this reminded me of my History lessons as a teenager, wistfully remembering how Mikhail Gorbachev in the Cold War wished to restructure (the meaning of Perestroika) the Soviet political and economic system within the Communist Party. Perestroika was one of the causes for the dissolution of the USSR. A memorable quote from One-Two author, Igor Eliseev, which showcases this time period within the story, is: "People are strange and incomprehensible. Once they are forbidden from doing something, they revolt, grow loud and unrestricted in their hate." Faith and Hope are conjoined twins with Faith being the narrator as she speaks to her twin, Hope. I found this particularly refreshing as to how intriguing the story played out. Faith and Hope are the main protagonists and they come to meet a host of friendly and at times not-so-friendly characters along the way. The main antagonists in my humble opinion as a reader, are the emotions of despair, alcoholism, and the dire physical and emotional abuse treated towards them by all and sundry, in their heartbreaking journey where they wish to some day become surgically separated. Don't get me wrong however; this is a genius novel, a psychological literary drama that shall pull at all your heartstrings. But don't let that detract you from enjoying it as there are beautiful moments within, all the way to such a realistic ending, I actually felt like clapping my hands at the end of it and raising a glass of kosher whiskey. From the beginning, Faith seems to me the weaker of the twins, finding strength in Hope until the closing parts of the story, where Faith has grown to be the stronger. At the start of the novel, the young girls face a trying time at the foster home. One of my memorable quotes there was: "The principal gave us a sharp look that immediately accused us of all our past wrong-doings and of our future ones, too, including, first and foremost, the fact that we had the audacity to be born..." This to me set the tone of the book and the hardships that Faith and Hope shall endure in their life, and that they only have each other to rely on. The girls are all but children, but the way Faith approaches life, at times sardonically dark with a poetic sense of humour mixed in, gives one the feeling that she is wise beyond her years, and not in a way that children should be. Hardened to life and accepting her fate in it, another memorable quote that Igor Eliseev, the fantastic author of One-Two, displays is: "It sometimes feels like you and I are at the movie theater, sitting next to each other and watching the same movie. People say something, argue incessantly, even fight, but it is all somewhere else, somewhere far away, on the other side of the screen, and we are just passive onlookers unable to affect the course of events." I shall be honest in this review, as I always am. There are some truly depressing parts in the story where you feel so terrible for what Faith and Hope have to endure as they take you on their pursuit of surgically-separated-happiness, that you actually feel a pain, wondering how monstrous humans are capable of being. But through it all, their strength to survive, their strength to keep on moving, is both beautiful and poignant. As an example of their depths of despair, when the conjoined twins suffered one of their first major setbacks, Faith asked of Hope: "Hope, tell me how it is possible that grief and happiness are scattered all over the world so unevenly? Why do some people get all the troubles and misfortunes while others are intoxicated with an abundance of material belongings, fat bellies and money? Why is there such injustice? Or, maybe, we are mistaken that it's unfair?" And another philosophical quote which displays Faith's view of the world, through her young eyes, "People have no limits either in love or in hatred. But is it their fault? They despise us because they are afraid, for we remind them that getting crippled or sick might happen to anyone; or, perhaps, the true reason for their hatred lies much deeper inside, stemming from a hidden ugliness in their souls?" In overall, I enjoyed this literary masterpiece by a Russian author (Igor Eliseev) writing in English. One-Two is a tragic drama which though slow-moving, is entrancing with its prose and deep insights. More than once, uncountable really, it made me think of life and how I treat others less fortunate than myself (not that I was a bad person to begin with before you go there!) I do believe that reading this book once is definitely not enough, and I see myself reading it a few more times in my lifetime. Thank you, Igor Eliseev, in giving the world this amazing and extraordinary tale! Would I read it again? Over and over! That's why I've given One-Two by Igor Eliseev a 5/5 rating!
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    Where there is hope, there is faith

    Before I read it I didn’t know what to expect. What I did expect was a painful and psychological journey to hell, however, the plot was surprising, full of hope and faith, except for some general speculations about the relation between helplessness or horror and some possibility of a good outcome. With Faith’s soul searching monologues about her (and our) purpose in life, we feel much of what she feels. The author succeeded in describing feelings and emotions of his characters in such a way that his readers actually go through what his characters are going through. All the characters truly have a life of their own, real in every motion, which, in conclusion of the conflict, reveals the essence of unconditional being and its relation to the real world through a system of philosophical categories. This book is about some important questions that all of us should ask. These questions are universal: is it more important for us to be together rather than apart? True love: what it is and what it's not? Do all other people feel like I do? There are so many questions brought about in the book. And I hope that pretty much all of us have similar answers. Although I found the analysis of the damned human race a bit excessive, this is a marvelous, deep book, one of the few books I’ve read.
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    It was amazing

    "One-Two" is not an ordinary novel but a literary masterpiece based on a fixed, universal human nature. Since its inception, the reader gets a taste of the original yet extraordinary genial plot and writing style of Mr. Eliseev. In my opinion, this book should be read in every corner of the world, because it raises awareness and understanding of fundamental human rights and generates respect for others and conveys skills for creating and maintaining cultures of peace. It is not diversity that is destroying our society, but the fear of diversity, which may hinder our full and effective participation in society and cause substantial if not total inability to see the real beauty in the world through the eyes of the heart.
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    Book that makes you live right now

    Perhaps I might begin by saying that I was born, grew up and still live in Russia. I’ve read the book in English, since there is no Russian language version of the novel yet. Therefore, it makes sense to consider the plot twists from my personal viewpoints, backgrounds, and life experiences of the person who has grown up in the same period and space where the story took place. Who knows, perhaps, if there were no the above-mentioned circumstances, my thrill of reading would be completely different – I certainly hope not! For me personally, it’s not the fantastic (or phantasmagoric) adventures of two conjoined girls, but the shocking and sad life story of the whole generation betrayed and slaughtered by Mother Love who concealed itself under the mask of piety, fraternity and justice. But the worst thing in the world happens to us today is the history repeats itself without a "Groundhog Day" loop and the goal and the spirit of politics do not change. And all that is left is two small, deformed, defective, stuck together as one – Hope and Faith hurting themselves in a desperate attempt to survive in the brutal reality conditions. I cannot call the story of Faith and Hope as pessimistic; to me it is just a way of ascertaining truth. I have not expected that kind of emotional resonance and empathic understanding, especially in the final scenes. Last but not least, when we read a book, we know there was an author. This book, however, seems to be written by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people just like me and you.
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    A touching story with moments of great beauty and

    The author has crafted a touching-- heartbreaking-- story of conjoined sisters struggling to survive in a harsh environment. The girls are reviled, raped, abused, shunned, and exploited at every turn. Yet, despite these desperate circumstances, there are magnificent acts of kindness from strangers-- and unexpected relatives-- whom they meet. And survival. All this is related in a stilted, yet poetic vernacular, which does a fine job of capturing the awkward Soviet formality juxtaposed with the dismissive irreverance of people long accustomed to suffering. This is not a place for those who take themselves, their problems, their fears-- too seriously. The ending is moving and so appropriate you welcome its release. And along the way, there are moments of great beauty and clarity, such as the fable one girl crafts to comfort the other: "A very long time ago, when the earth was inhabited by centaurs and unicorns, there also lived beautiful, two-headed people. As the millennia passed, they built houses and cities and lived happily ever after. But there came a time when the two most beautiful women who were joined together gave birth to an unusual girl. As soon as she came into the world, she had two mothers but they grew numb with disgust. Their daughter had only one head. 'How ugly she is; the gods must have cursed us,' one of the uttered and burst into tears."
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