The Girls by Lori Lansens

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135,000 words
Finished books available


World Rights ex Canada: Little, Brown, May 2006
Canada: Knopf, Fall 2005
UK: Virago
Brazil: Editora Globo
Simplified Chinese: Shanghai Century Publishing
Czech Republic: BB Art
France: Editions de l'Archipel
French (Book Club): France Loisirs
French Canada: Editions Alto
Germany: Ullstein
Israel: Modan
Italy: Mondadori
Lithuania: Alma Littera
Netherlands: De Bezige Bij
Norway: Juritzen Forlag
Poland: MAG
Portugal: Casa Das Letras
Serbia: Beobooks
Sweden: Bra Bocker
Taiwan: Commonwealth
Turkey: Sistem


Lori Lansens (Photo: Ian Brown)
(Photo: Ian Brown)

Lori Lansens was a successful screenwriter before she burst onto the literary scene in 2002 with her first novel Rush Home Road. Published in eleven countries, Rush Home Road received rave reviews around the world. Her follow-up novel The Girls was an international success as well. Rights were sold in 13 territories and it was featured as a book club pick by Richard & Judy in the UK, selling 300,000 copies. Her third novel, The Wife's Tale was published in ten different territories, while her forth novel, The Mountain Story, had rights sold in eight. Born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, Lori Lansens now makes her home in Los Angeles with her two children.

The Girls

a novel by Lori Lansens


  • A Flare magazine Book of the Month
  • A longlist nominee for the Orange Broadband Prize 2007
  • A 2007 Richard & Judy Bookclub selection
  • Featured in Vogue, June 2006
  • A New York Times Editor's Choice
  • A Wall Street Journal Summer Reads Pick for 2006
  • The #1 Booksense Pick for May 2006
  • A Toronto Star Best Read for 2005

The Girls - new cover, Canadian editionSince their birth, twin sisters Rose and Ruby Darlen have been known simply as "The Girls." Raised by Aunt Lovey, the nurse who took them in after their mother abandoned them, they have lived all their lives in the small town of Leaford, in an old farmhouse bordered by cornfields. This is the story of their shared life, two sisters who are ordinary in most respects but who have a relationship of profound and unmatched intimacy. For Rose and Ruby are conjoined twins, connected inseparably at the head, facing the world side by side. The Girls is the affecting chronicle of their incomparable life journey, a heartrending story of love between sisters.

Now nearing thirty, Rose and Ruby are soon to be The Girls - Canadian coverhistory’s oldest conjoined twins, and Rose decides it is time to write the story of her short but extraordinary life with Ruby. From their awkward first steps—Ruby’s armcurled around Rose’s neck, her legs wrapped around Rose’s hips—this is an unmatched story of the most intense love imaginable. As Ruby watches Rose write her memoirs, she decides she wants to tell her part too; for though they are as close as two people can be, their lives and voices are wonderfully, powerfully distinct. Every experience of growing up comes rushing through in their telling—their first loves, their painful choices, losses, and triumphs—but every experience is doubled, sometimes joyfully and sometimes painfully.

The Girls - UK coverThe Girls charts the depths of a miraculous friendship, unsettling and beautiful in its closeness. As the two stories parallel, diverge, and intertwine, building to an unforgettable conclusion, Lansens aims at the heart of human experience and the fundamental joy of connection.


“I promise: you will never forget this extraordinary story...Lori Lansens' blend of tragedy and comedy will touch you deeply.”  — ISABEL ALLENDE

“A tale of kindness, love, and the off things life throws at us, no matter our circumstances … The backdrop of sisters who share in essential brain vein offers complications that give the story special meaning, but Lansens' writing is so haunting and filled with the ache of dreams unrealized, the characters seem just like everyone else … Make sure, by the end, you have plenty of tissues handy.”  — USA TODAY

“An engagingly perverse novel about twins conjoined spiritually as well as physically.”  — THE NEW YORK TIMES

The Girls, by Lori Lansens, is a ballad, a melancholy song of two very strange, enchanted girls who live out their peculiar, ordinary lives is a rural corner of Canada....The Girls glides by like a watercolor dream, finding its poetry in dailiness and the universalities of human desire and connection....Lansens, who has a gentle, open way of writing, makes of these two girls a kind of perfect marriage, harmonious and everlasting.”  — THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

“[The Girls] is an immensely readable novel, compelling and convincing....[A]n enchanting blend of the extraordinary and the everyday.”  — NEW STATESMAN

“Now and then a book comes along that you want to savor – every phrase, every nuance, every little moment, you want to carry with you long after you've closed the cover. So it is with The Girls. … As much as you want Rose and Ruby's story to continue, you know it can't. But these unforgettable characters will live on outside the pages of this book.”  — THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR

“Remarkable. … This is a book that reaches beyond connection, beyond intimacy and necessity, beyond even love. Lansens has reached – and grasped – a story that asks us to consider the human condition. … The Girls will stay with you for a long time, as will your wish to have a heart as big as theirs.”  — MONITOR

“Lori Lansens' novel The Girls is a perfect marriage of the unusual and the universal....The Girls can be read as an unironic portrait of the charms of small-town life in the mold of Anne of Green Gables or the early chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird....The Girls also diplays a sharp but affectionate understanding of human nature that makes it likely to stand the test of time.”  — DAILY YOMIURI

“This is not a book about the grotesque but a book about love, about being bound to someone else and accepting the situation gracefully, even gratefully.”  — SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

“A fascinating-and at times heartbreaking-read about two independent young women.”  — CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“Extraordinarily moving: joyous, heartbreaking, and shot through with moments of dark humor.... The voices of Rose and Ruby cry out to be heard for their glorious celebration of humanity.”  — VOGUE

“You won't pity the girls, but you'll feel richer for having seen their world.”  — GLAMOUR

“In her second novel, author Lori Lansens makes a gentle, persuasive case for everyone's individuality, writing two first-person memoirs in the voices of twins linked permanently through a shared, and inseparable, vein in their attached heads.”  — BOSTON GLOBE

“Lansens beats the odds: A book that could have been tasteless provides a complex consideration of identity and individuality, of sameness and difference, of what it means to be normal and what it takes to feel at home in the world.”  — PEOPLE MAGAZINE

“[Lansens'] real triumph is this strange story's rich context: a Canadian farming community where we encouter the full spectrum of human frailty.”  — ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“Lansens fully imparts the sweet triumph of such unique lives.”  — DAILY NEWS

“Lori Lansens creates two distinct voices with rare beauty.... Lansens handles issues of intimacy and privacy with warmth and humour.”  — THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

The Girls skilfully tackles a tricky subject with both laugh-out-loud humor and grace.”  — REDBOOK

“Pure joy . What wonderful writing.”  — JANE HAMILTON, author of A Map of the World

“The novel is utterly compelling, the women's voices entirely distinct but contrapuntal and forthright, the story they tell together as emotionally powerful as any 'real' memoir. But what is truly clever about this novel is its resolute adherence, behind the guise of memoir, to the mandates of fiction, pushing us with the fantastical and the absurd-exercising our abilities to imagine.”  — NEWSDAY

“It is the true test of a writer's mettle to create a convincing narrator, and Lori Lansens has done it not once but twice in her remarkable novel about conjoined twins. The two fascinating protagonists of The Girls live their lives together in every way, and yet nevertheless emerge with beliefs and desires all their own, and with distinct outlooks on their difficult circumstances. We are all fortunate for a novelist with so delicate and sensitive a touch.”  — ARTHUR GOLDEN, author of Memoirs of a Geisha

“Remarkable. … This is a deeply moving story of two unusual women and their struggles for independence and acceptance. This is one that will stay with you long after you read it.”  — DAILY AMERICAN

“Lansens overcomes the "ick" factor in this surprisingly moving story.... The novel's power lies in the wonderful narrative voices of Rose and Ruby. Lansens has created a richly nuanced, totally believable sibling relationship.... An unsentimental, heartwarming page-turner. Quite an achievement.”  — KIRKUS, starred review

“The biggest achievement in the novel is bringing to life these two extraordinary characters to such a degree that readers may forget they are reading fiction.”  — BOOKLIST, starred review

“Extraordinary. A masterful and sophisticated duet. a multidimensional vision of the sisters' lives.”  — TIME MAGAZINE

“A stunner… immensely exciting… a tribute to the extraordinariness of human consciousness… laced with delightful comic moments… not just a sophisticated literary accomplishment but a darned good read.”  — TORONTO STAR

“The best book of the year... a staggeringly beautiful, often wildly funny work about being different and proud of it… a wholly unique love story… awesome.”  — NOW MAGAZINE

“A compelling read (I devoured it in one sitting). Lansens' beautiful writing is so detailed that it is often easy to forget that the material is not based on a true story. She captures what it would be like never to sleep, bathe, go for a walk, or meet friends on your own.”  — NATIONAL PUBLICATION

“A masterful tale.”  — METRO TORONTO

The Girls - mass market paperback cover


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