twin time

From Semiotext(e) / Native Agents

twin time

or, how death befell me

By Veronica Gonzalez Peña

A young woman's fabulist search for her long-lost twin brother overturns all notions of motherhood, magic realism, and miscegenation.

Distributed for Semiotext(e)





A young woman's fabulist search for her long-lost twin brother overturns all notions of motherhood, magic realism, and miscegenation.

... as I poured my father's ashes into a big Ziploc bag, a little of my blood dripped in. I thought about how each cell has all of you fully inscribed in it, so that if I left those drops in there, it would be as if I were already dead too. I plunged in then, to try and get myself out, but it was all so sticky that I had to give up; when I pulled out my hand, parts of my father were stuck all over it...—from Twin Time Witty, sarcastic, and sensuous, Twin Time: or, how death befell me tells the story of Mona, who, upon her father's death in Los Angeles, decides to set off in search of her long-lost twin brother, given away as an infant. With her father's ashes as a guide of dubious reliability, Mona embarks upon a quest that takes her into a forest where she's confronted by—among other beings—a band of Nordic men, her Chinese doppelganger, a lascivious giant, and a pack of feral children. Along the way Mona recounts her parents' past as she imagines it, a romantic tale of love and rescue set in a fabulist, idealized Mexico—a dreamy place that only vaguely resembles the harsh quotidian realities of the 1960s Mexico City her parents inhabited. When Mona finds her brother at last, she learns that he grew up in London with their mother—who had supposedly (or so Mona had been told) died in childbirth—and her parents' story is thrown into further disarray. By the end of the journey, all Mona's received ideas of home, motherhood, magic realism, and miscegenation have been overturned.

Veronica Gonzalez is the coeditor of Juncture: 25 Very Good Stories and 12 Excellent Drawings and the founder of rockypoint Press, a series of artist-writer collaborations produced in association with 1301PE Gallery. Twin Time is her first novel.


$14.95 T ISBN: 9781584350484 256 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • [A] lush and layered debut...

    Pam Houston

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • Defying easy categorization, Gonzalez's debut novel is an often-mesmerizing account of a young woman's search for the truth about her parents, with absorbing stream-of-consciousness passages that draw the reader into her mind....

    Publisher's Weekly

  • I loved the fabric of this book; the rhythm was palpable. The forces swirling in and around the young girl and the estranged and luscious descriptions of nature and mating and storytelling and dreams were told so silently. It was like being in an aquarium looking out somehow.

    Eileen Myles

    the Believer


  • A lost twin, her mother held in a child-like state, a love-struck baker, they wander perpetually homesick, through the urban calamities of Mexico City, Los Angeles, New York in Veronica Gonzalez's bold, dark, and beautiful first novel. twin time: or, how death befell me reads like a fairy tale that has been torn apart and stitched into something utterly contemporary, revealing the nightmares and longings of the modern world.

    Danzy Senna


  • Winner of the 2008 Premio Aztlán Literary Award.