Her Fearful Symmetry
3 of 5 stars
Twins Julia and Valentina move to the London flat they inherited from their mother’s estranged twin, and form complicated bonds with the other residents, including the spirit of their aunt, who has never really left.
“Well, that’s just it, you see. I think perhaps if that sort of thing does happen — ghosts — it must be more beautiful, more surprising than all these old tales would have us believe.”
As a fan of The Time Traveler’s Wife, I’ve been meaning to pick up this novel from the same author for quite awhile. Even when I did check it out months ago, I had a hard time getting into it and ended up returning it having only read the first 30 pages or so. Though it did take awhile to get invested in the plot, once I was, it pulled me in and intrigued me, but wasn’t really what I expected.
One of my favorite aspects of this book was that one of the main settings is an old cemetery in London. I have an interest in genealogy, which has spilled over into an interest in cemeteries as well, so I found these sections about cemetery history fascinating.
I also enjoyed reading about Martin, the twins’ upstairs neighbor with OCD, and with his daily struggles with his disorder and what finally happened to him. I probably would have been enjoyed reading a book based solely on his subplot.
The twins, however, bothered me. I’m sure part of this was intentional, as their strange closeness and near-obsession with their ‘twin-ness’ was a main part of the storyline, but I found them and their relationship to be rather unsettling.
Also, one of the major twists near the end of the story — dealing with the backstory of the previous generation (Elspeth & Edie) — seemed to come out of the blue and — although it had been foreshadowed over and over throughout the earlier parts of the story — didn’t really have any bearing on the present situation. In fact, it made Elspeth’s actions near the end of the book seem even more out of character.
Overall: A story about some unusual people with some unusual twists along the way.