Twins Julia and Valentina inherit an apartment in London from an aunt (their mother’s twin Elspeth) they didn’t know they had. To accept the inheritance, they must live in the flat for one year, which is fine by them since they usually just hang out doing nothing anyway. Once there, they meet their strange neighbors as well as their dead aunt (in ghost form) and get a cat. Oh and… Valentina starts to chafe under Julia’s dominance in their relationship. Is trouble ahead in twinland?
HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY is a strange novel, and I still haven’t decided if I really liked it or just sort of liked it. Although the aimless younger twins are ostensibly the main characters, Elspeth looms so large that it feels more like her story. Add, too, the fact that non-integral supporting characters, such as OCD afflicted Martin and his long-suffering wife, are far more interesting than the twins and you have an odd dynamic indeed.
Still, Niffenegger certainly knows how to hold a reader’s attention and I was never bored – even if the creepy paranormal aspects of the narrative didn’t kick into high gear until halfway through. When what happened with the cat happened, I was so creeped out, I put the book down for two days and shivered whenever I thought about what would probably happen next (and which eventually did happen).
No one should go into this expecting a TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE clone, but lovers of light gothic literary fiction, ghosts and or twins will likely enjoy their reading experience.
HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY is out in hardcover now. Find out more about it at the author's website.