Her Fearful Symmetry

by Audrey Niffenegger

Julia and Valentina Poole are twenty-one year old mirror image twins, from Chicago. Julia is outgoing and strong where Valentina is shy and weak. They have a huge attachment for each other, and a sort of twin telepathy.

"The thing that made the twins peculiar was hard to define. People were uneasy when they saw them together without knowing exactly why."

The girls inherit their deceased aunt's flat in London, with the condition that they have to live there for a year before they sell it.  The flat borders on Highgate Cemetery and also, as the girls come to learn, on a supernatural world. 

Their aunt was their mother's identical twin, from whom she had been estranged for two decades. The flat, Aunt Elspeth's life and death, her lover Robert, and the cemetery are shrouded in mystery for the twins. 

Niffenegger tells the lifestories of two generations of twins, and the perpetual pull between the need to be together and the desire to be independent. She unravels the lies that are woven between twins and the rest of the world. Her story tells the blurred line between life and afterlife, and the notion that love can break all natural barriers. 

I loved the details the author included about London and the cemetery, about the twins and their inner thoughts. I gave myself over to this novel; I was completely immersed in Julia and Valentina's London. I'm not sure if I was totally satisfied with the conclusion of the novel, though. I allowed myself to believe in ghosts and souls moving bodies, and then I was not rewarded in the way that I had anticipated. 

A thought-provoking read. Let's hope that it doesn't get a movie adaptation. I'm not sure that it would successfully translate to film. 

♥ Meg xoxo

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