Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

by Sabrina

It’s a ghost story set in London in and around the Highgate Cemetery.

Elspeth is dying of cancer. All her worldly belongings including a big London flat go to her nieces, the daughters of her twin sister Edwina with whom she had a quarrel when they were young and therefore never met her sister or her nieces again. What is the big mystery behind this quarrel? That is what Julia and Valentina want to find out. The only request to Valentina’s and Julia’s heir is that they need to live in the flat of their aunt, whom they never got to know, for one year before they can sell it. So Julia and Valentina, twins themselves as their mother and aunt, pack their things and set off track from their home in Lake Forest to London.

The girls are described as fragile individuals but strong together as twins as no one can interrupt a relationship as united as the one of twins. Julia is the powerful character who knows what is best for the two of them, whereas Valentina is kind of a submissive character, who has got asthma and needs a lot of care. During the story she learns to stand up for herself.

In London the girls get to know Robert, lover and friend of their aunt Elspeth, who lives in the flat below theirs. He is tourist guide on the Highgate Cemetery next to their home. He falls in love with Valentina. The twins become established in their new surrounding and enjoy their lives at the expanse of their aunt. Soon they recognize something like a ghost present in the flat. Could this be aunt Elspeth?

I had no high expectations with this book as I read reviews of people who didn’t like this book for some reason. I enjoyed most of the story for example the parts about the life as a twin, which I always thought to be extremely exciting and the parts about Elspeth recognizing herself to be and live as a ghost. All that was highly interesting and in a storytelling manner, which I loved so much in The Time traveler’s Wife. But I didn’t like the ending at all. The twist was just not my cup of tea and only surprising as one really didn’t hope to be surprised with an ending one could have imagined but hoped to be not surprised with. You may ask yourself what I mean. As I can’t tell the ending you would have to go read and be surprised by yourself.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review. Now I'm still not sure I want to read it... :-)