18 December 2017

Review: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Okay, I get it now. The fuss around Audrey Niffenegger that is. This is my first time reading Niffenegger and Her Fearful Symmetry has several of the elements I love in a novel: twins (not just one set but two generations of twins), a cemetery and a ghost.

Set in London, this is a slow burn that begins when Elspeth Noblin leaves her flat overlooking Highgate Cemetery to her twin nieces after her death. Elspeth and her own twin sister are estranged, so the bequeathment comes as quite a shock to the family. The twin girls must live in the flat for a year before they can sell it and the inheritance begins to transform Julia and Valentina in small and subtle ways.

I loved the character of Robert, primarily because it was through him that the reader is treated to so much history of the Highgate Cemetery. Robert volunteers at the cemetery and takes tourists on guided tours throughout the grounds and these were by far my favourite elements of the book.

I found the final denouement and the choices made by two of the characters to be such a disappointment that I became quite dissatisfied with the ending. Sometimes a disappointing ending can be provocative and exciting, but I was left feeling angry at two of the characters and wanted to slap one of them, so it cost the novel a star in this review.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

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