I had read Timothy Knatchbull's story years ago in Joan Woodward's "The Lone Twin" and when I heard he had written a book himself I thought: I have to read that. Still, it took me almost three years to actaully buy it. Other books came between and I sort of forgot to look out for his and then it came my way again in a peculiar manner.
I had one of those crazy dreams I seem to have a subscription on. In this one I was washing my clothes in a muddy puddle and - not surprisingly - got them back just as dirty, but I kept putting them back into the murky water. The next day I just stumbled upon this book on I-don't-remember-which-site and ordered it right away. It was just the remedy I needed, the clear water missing in my dream.
Timothy Knatchbull, a great-grand-nephew of some degree to the Queen of England (I couldn't decipher the relation correctly not being familiar with Royals at all) was born an identical twin. In his book he describes his relationship with his brother Nicholas both matter-of-factly and touchingly. "In a way we were married to each other", he says, and that they had constant company and empathy, they truly were each other's best friend and inseparable. Before Nicholas died they had hardly spend more than two or three days apart.
Nicholas died at age 14 when the IRA put a bomb into the boat the Knatchbulls and their extended family, including the Grandfather, Lord Mountbatten, a prominent member of the royal family, used during their holiday in Ireland. Only Timothy and his parents survived. Twenty years later Knatchbull tries to trace his life back to the second he and his twin-brother were ript apart. he follows first his family's history and especially their link with the small town of Mullaghmore in Ireland, step by step, minute by minute, he approaches the fatal moment when the bomb exploded, then the rescue, the stay in hospital, the funeral he couldn't attend, the slow recovery (including a beautiful chapter about a stay at the Queen's own scottish castle for recuperation) and his way into adulthood till the point he realizes he is not as well as he makes everyone including himself think. To hear the sound of a bomb exploding in your every other day is not normal and healthy, he finally states and seeks out professional help. But more therapeutic then the appointments with a psychologist it's to Knatchbull to go back, step by step, to the day and place it happened and find a way to do what he couldn't do at age 14: say good-bye to this twin-brother.
I followed Knachtbull's story breathlessly and tried to make it my own. There has been a moment in my life when just something like that occurred, a bomb exploded under me and tore my twin and me apart. Only it wasn't a bomb. Only it had no sound in the womb. Only I will never be able to trace my life back to that moment the way Timothy Knachtsbull did. I tried to do it by proxy using his book, though, and it tought me a new respect for this moment, shrouded by the prenatal past, but nevertheless just as real and fatal as the IRA-bomb was for him and Nicholas. Maybe this is gain enough from an otherwise very thrilling and interesting book: to know something like that DID happen to me and I will find my way to deal with it. It cannot be the same way Knachtbull took, but a way can be found when I closely listen to the sound of MY bomb and try to find the traces leading to it. And on.