By Diana Evans
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WHITBREAD FIRST NOVEL AWARD
Identical twins, Georgia and Bessi, stay within the loft of 26 Waifer road. it's a position of beanbags, nectarines and secrets and techniques, and viewers should always knock prior to getting into. Down lower than there's not such concord. Their Nigerian mom places cayenne pepper on her Yorkshire pudding and has mysterious methods of facing homesickness; their father angrily roams the streets of Neasden, prey to the demons of his Derbyshire upbringing. pressured to create their very own identities, the Hunter youngsters construct a separate universe. Older sister Bel discovers intercourse, excessive heels and natural hairdressing, the twins arrange for a flapjack empire, and child sister Kemy learns to moonwalk for Michael Jackson. it really is whilst the truth comes knocking that the fantasies of adolescence begin to cave in. How will Georgia and Bessi cope in a global of separateness and solitude, and which ones can be stronger?
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The Board's disciples were unwilling to explore the possible validity of any alternative explanations of disease; Florence Nightingale rejected the germ hypothesis because, by undermining the miasma theory, it questioned the policy of the Board: 'The germ hypothesis', she contended, 'is directly at variance in its results with ascertained sanitary experience, and to adopt it as a basis oflegislation is, in strict logic, to declare that the Public Health Act, the Local Government Act, and all other Local Acts for improving the public health, have been founded on error' (Remarks by Miss Nightingale, in Infection, 2nd edn, p.
63). According to S. E. Finer, Chadwick's biographer, the Board of Health's tenacious adherence to the miasma theory, coupled with its ignorance of microbiology, led on occasion to an increase in disease. For example, in 1848, when cholera threatened to reappear in London, the Board directed the flushing of London's sewers into the Thames (which at that time supplied most of the city's drinking-water), in order to weaken the miasma generated from the sewage. Finer explains, Chadwick publicly defended this disastrous choice: the total surface and refuse cleansing would only pollute the Thames to the population of 1 in 5,000 and this was better than keeping it in the sewers where it would give off 'pestilential' exhalations ....
Dr Perry argued that, 'Respecting the immediate cause of any epidemic disease with which a community may be visited, very little satisfactory information has hitherto been obtained; so that to give a definite answer in our present state of knowledge is beyond our power' (p. 5). And, although Southwood Smith noted how 'Vast and immeasurable ... the difference appears to be between the contagionists and the anticontagionists' (Treatise on Fever, 1830, p. 364; emphasis added), there was not always a clear demarcation between theories of contagion and theories of miasma.