Thursday, 23 September 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry


This is the first novel I've read by Audrey Niffenegger, and I wasn't disappointed.

Her Fearful Symmetry is very much a ghost story, centering upon the atmospheric setting which inspired the novel, Highgate Cemetery. Mirror-twins, Julia and Valentina, are left a flat on the border of the cemetery by an aunt they did not even know existed. When the girls leave America to begin their new life in London, they walk into the lives of an obsessive-compulsive crossword writer, who cannot leave the 'safety' of his flat, not even to pursue the love of his life, and the mysterious Robert, their aunt's lover. Elspeth Noblin may be deceased, but her spirit is still present, and growing stronger by the day...

I think one of the strongest features of the novel is the characterisation. Each character is refreshingly original, and well rounded, even believeable. The plot, too, is clever, well structured and compelling, and the narrative lighthearted, but also deeply poignant. I also loved the sense of place and time. The novel has inspired me to visit Highgate Cemetery next time I'm in London. I got the impression that Niffenegger researched the setting thoroughly - apparently she was even a guide at the cemetery for a while.

This is probably the best book I've read this year. I couldn't put it down!

3 comments:

Mariel said...

That book's included in my TBR (to be read) list! Nice review!.. You should read "The Time Traveler's Wife". I think you'll like it too. :)

Kess said...

Thanks Mariel! 'The Time Traveller's Wife' is definitely on my TBR list. I'll let you know what I think, although I've heard lots of positive reviews

Mariel said...

Cool! I'll be waiting for your review. :)