By Vanessa V. Friedman
Updated June 23, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Chang and Eng

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  • Book

Chang and Eng were the boys, joined at the chest, about whom the appellation ”Siamese twins” was coined. From the few known facts of their life — they were born by the Mekong River in 1811, came to the West at a young age, married sisters from North Carolina, and fathered 21 children — Strauss has fashioned a minutely imagined story of their lives as narrated by Eng, the less verbal and less showy of the brothers. But as a storyteller recounting foreign experiences in a foreign language, Eng seems stilted and alien in ways that have nothing to do with his physical condition. Readers may admire Strauss’ technique, but they won’t respond emotionally. B

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Chang and Eng

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