Book Review: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Audrey Niffenegger's, The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorite books, in part, because of its story of tortured and near impossible love.
Niffenegger's latest book, Her Fearful Symmetry, also explores the theme of tortured and impossible love, but of a slightly different type. Instead of unpredictable time travel, the impossible element is the afterlife, and how one ghost's action affects many lives.
Her Fearful Symmetry is set in London and what better place for a ghost story than right next door to Highgate Cemetery? As the story opens, a woman dies and has left she her London flat to the twin daughters of her own estranged twin sister. There are many dark secrets lurking here and there and many mysteries that go unexplained.
The bulk of the story is about the twin girls, who are twenty, but never seem to have escaped childhood. They still do that whole twin thing of dressing alike and are so close that even sleep in the same bed. As part of the dead aunt's will, the twins have to live in her London apartment for one year. While there they meet a couple of eccentric neighbors and the ghost of the dead aunt.
All in all, they handle being haunted fairly well. With the help of the ghost's old boyfriend, who lives downstairs, they are able to communicate via a Ouija board and automatic writing. Soon they spend a lot of time talking to the ghost — as anyone might.
The ghost is the star of the show, but she gets some serious competition from the OCD upstairs neighbor and the old boyfriend's umpteen thousand page dissertation on Highgate Cemetery. There are also lots of walks among the many interesting tombs and environs of the cemetery itself.Continued on the next page