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book tags

I've decided to "archive" the books I read with collaged luggage tags, ya know, the kind you buy at JoAnn and gussy up with your collage-y stuff. I still only finish about a book a month, and I'm pursuing this artsy urge I've had to collage. So here's the first in a series: a collage tag for Darin Strauss's Chang and Eng. This book is historical fiction, documenting the life of Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker, who began their lives under the protective care of their mother and father, who were Mekong fisherfolk trying to live as normally as they can on a floating hovel. The twins are condemned to death by the King of Siam, but once the King meets them he changes his mind about the "bad omen" they portend, instead choosing to believe that they're a harbinger of good luck to Siam. So the King undertakes to educate the twins, who live under his roof for many years before they hear of their father's death. The King releases them once again to the Mekong. While there they are snatched up by a man who promotes freaks. Thus begins Chang and Eng's long career on exhibition as the famous Double-Boy of Siam. Eventually they settle in Wilkesboro, N. Carolina, marrying sisters. The story disintegrates from here, choosing to focus on Eng's infidelity with Chang's wife... we're to believe this can happen because Eng is a staunch Prohibitionist while Chang is a drunkard.

Not the greatest book, but I rather like the tag. Turns out that once the twins died their autopsy revealed that they shared no internal organs and could have been separated simply by severing the band of flesh and cartilage that joined them at the sternum. The tag is double-sided, to reflect that joining, one side showing the twins as boys in Siam, the other showing them as young men in America.


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