To what degree is epilepsy Xanther’s “familiar” in this novel, and what would that mean? Considering the gulf between the twins and Xanther, Anwar notes (p. 127), “Perhaps on some level the girls consider Xanther’s condition a kind of companion…. It’s, after all, always with her. About her.” And Astair agrees, thinking that for a year she had been trying actually “to locate and secure for her child a better companion” (128). How might this “companion” link Xanther to Tian Li, who also is mired in language and set apart? In what way does it connect her to Dr. Cas, who is physically disabled and is the only one who can communicate with the Orb? How will the status of this companion change when Xanther receives a new “familiar”?