Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Author Audrey Niffenegger has captured the essence of a prize-winning novel and potential blockbuster movie with this, her second effort. The story revolves around 20-something twins Julia and Valentina whose mom is also a twin. The girls are bequeathed an apartment in London overlooking Highgate Cemetery by mom’s twin, who dies of cancer. The catch – they must live in the apartment for one year.
The book’s scenes are set in meticulous detail. There is an elegant balance between the quirky and the mundane, whether it is the characters themselves, their clothes or the rooms they inhabit. Elspeth’s apartment is a treasure trove of books and furniture, easily pictured by the reader. The same holds true for visualizing Valentina’s creativity in fashioning the twins’ clothing. The action goes from laboriously slow, when Martin painstakingly scrubs the floors of his flat, to breathtakingly fast when Valentina is racing around London trying desperately to become her own person.
Anyone lucky enough to read Symmetry will thoroughly enjoy vicariously traipsing around London and will definitely come to know their way around Highgate Cemetery. The characters experience more than their share of emotional highs and lows. Some are well beyond the usual range for ordinary people – read that non-twins. If ever you’ve wondered what’s considered normal, this book will bring you into a whole new dimension that is entirely plausible.
Five stars – highly recommended. The book far exceeded this reader’s expectations.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.