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Book Review – The Less You Know The Sounder You Sleep

The Less You Know The Sounder You Sleep by Juliet Butler (Fourth Estate) ISBN 97800008203764

Imagine being born as conjoined twins. You share a body but your personalities are totally different. One is the boss and the other the servant. One beats the other one up to assert her dominance. One is brash, the other sensitive.

That is only the beginning of the nightmare of the true story that was Masha and Dasha’s life. They were born in the middle of Stalin’s USSR when the race for Russians to prove their superiority over Americans was dangerously competitive.

Scientists were doing experiments on conjoined twins to make new discoveries, and when Masha and Dasha were born they were snatched away from their parents to do just that. Thus began a life as charges of the state for these ‘Defectives’.

This was the most fascinating, heartbreaking, but also hopeful read. The author personally knew the twins for over a decade and although the style is like a novel, most of the stories are true.

Juliet Butler gives a unique insight into the lives of conjoined twins, the politics and society of the USSR/Russia over five decades, and the human psyche.

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff