I’ve been dreaming of many-headed dinosaurs. Who hasn’t? I refer, in the main, to the readership of Fjona Uu’s new novel, The Brontesaurus Sisters, but then one doesn’t like to exclude anyone who might be engaged in personally-inspired many-headed dinosaur dreaming, does one?
In all honesty, I don’t know much about these so-called Brontë Sisters. They wrote some books, I’ve heard, and were, I’m told, sisters – thus the collective title. Indeed, being related to one another seems to have ensured that they are considered, more often than not, as a group; that they are compared to, complemented alongside and in constant competition with each other. Charlotte, Anne and Emily were their actual names, but it is much easier, is it not, to simply say ‘Brontë Sisters’?
Easier, yes – but is it fair? To what extent should we allow ourselves to stuff siblings into the same categorical sandwich? No doubt the sisters shared a similar background; perhaps even more than this. Maybe they led very similar lives, who knows? Clearly I don’t. But I do wonder whether this isn’t worth a second look, this whole ‘sibling group’ thing. No?
My wife, for instance, has a sister she hasn’t seen for thirty years. They have so little in common, these two – and yet one can see how someone from the future might be tempted to compare the two. For they are, after all, sisters. They come from the same family. And what are families, ultimately, but an elementary filing system: a way of ordering this chaotic universe of ours?
As non-readers may have guessed from the title, Fjona Uu’s book imagines the three Brontë Sisters as a single entity, albeit a three-headed single entity. In short, a Brontesaurus. Imagine that: a Brontosaurus with three heads, each representing a sister in the same family. Now imagine your own siblings (should you have any) as heads on the shared body of a large dinosaur.
Why imagine such a thing? I can’t quite see why, but at the same time I can’t quite help myself. I hear that someone is contemplating a critical biography of the entire Laami family and, once again, my Fjona-U-fueled-fancy takes glorious flight. A bloated diplodocus hoves into view, fourteen or fifteen heads swaying above its fat heavy body. I see it in the swamp, thrashing wildly. I see the heads turn on each other, snapping and snarling. I see rivers of senseless blood running around the thick feet of Triassic monsters.
I’ve been dreaming of many-headed dinosaurs. Perhaps I should stop reading Fjona Uu and eating cheese before I sleep at night.