Thursday, March 24, 2011

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger

Basic Plot 

Juliana and Valentina Poole are mirror twins who have lived their whole lives in USA together, doing basically nothing. With no real plans for the future, their lives were suddenly changed forever when an aunt they never knew existed leaves them an apartment in London after her death. For want of anything better to do the girls travel half-way across the globe to settle in their apartment which overlooks the Highgate Cemetery in London. With an agrophobic obsessive-compulsive recluse and the heart-broken lover of their aunt for neighbours, things only get stranger when they realize that the apartment was not all that was left of their aunt.

What I liked about this book

Being the second book by the author of 'The Time Traveller's Wife' automatically guaranteed my expectations of this book to be high. It was an unconventional ghost story. With mirror twins (twins with every feature identical but reversed) as the main character, the special bond and tumoultous tug of war relationship between the need for independence from and dependence on each other was explored. The way the ghost, Elspeth learns the mechanics of haunting her nieces also made an interesting read as we are introduced to the concept that even ghosts must learn to communicate with the living. The other characters also had their own quirks and their various ways of dealing with personal grief.

What I disliked about this book

Probably the first quarter of the book. This book was definitely a slow starter. Things only started to get interesting when Elspeth initiates contact. Some of the "twists" were predictable, eventhough they were intended to have a shocking effect. I had the impression that the author tried too hard with this book in hopes of recieving the same accolades as her first. It was nowhere near the same standard as her first although a reasonably good read.

A quote I liked from the book

Talk as long as you can, until the batteries run down, until dawn, until I see you again, my love.

Rating: 3.5/5



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