Her Fearful Symmetry is the most recent book by Audrey Niffenegger, the author of ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife‘.
Identical twins Valentina and Julia inherit their’s aunt Elspeth’s apartment and belongings in London on the condition that they do not allow their parents Edie (Elspeth’s identical twin) and Jack into the apartment and live there for a year. Elspeth and Edie have been estranged for years and the twins haven’t known their aunt while growing up in America. They are obviously surprised to hear from their aunt’s solicitor but agree to go to London to spend a year in their aunt’s house by themselves at the age of 21 hoping to find out some of her secrets.
However, the twins are in for a surprise. Their aunt Elspeth has not left. Although she is buried with the rest of the Noblin family in Highgate Cemetery (which is just across the apartment), her ghost still exists in the apartment. As the twins try and figure out their neighbours, Robert who was Elspeth’s partner, and Martin, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (and possibly agoraphobia in my opinion) and doesn’t leave his apartment. they also have to deal with living by themselves, understanding themselves and attempting to communicate with Elspeth.
The relationship between Valentina and Julia is explored. Valentina dreams of doing things on her own but is smothered by Julia, the dominant and bossy twin. Valentina’s efforts to have a relationship with Robert and a life of her own are tested. And Julia, who starts feeling neglected and resentful at Valentina not needing her, tries to help Martin. The world of the supernatural is also explored through Elspeth and how she learns to communicate with the twins and Robert.
Does Valentina manage to escape from Julia’s shadow?
Do we find out why Elspeth decided to leave everything to twins she had never met?
Does Julia ever figure out what to do with her life?
And can you fool around with the supernatural and live to talk about it?
My view on the book: Meh. It was not great. It was an easy read and kept you interested but was kind of predictable as it got near the end. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters apart from Martin. Julia was too bossy and annoying for me. Valentina was too timid and too anxious…I just wanted to shake some sense into her! Robert was all right but it was a bit weird that he went out with Valentina after Elspeth’s death. Almost had an incestuous feel to it. Elspeth was too mean and cold. The twins’ parents were too distant.
If you’ve read the book, let me know your thoughts.
If you haven’t read the book, well, don’t rush to get it. You can wait till it’s on sale. Or borrow it from the library.
Until next time,
***This has been cross-posted at Bond with Books***