Monday, October 19, 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry

by Audrey Niffenegger

We begin with a death. Elspeth Noble is dead and leaves her two twin nieces, Valentina and Julia, her flat in London with the stipulation that her sister and twin, Edie, and her husband are not allowed in the flat and the twins have to live there for a year before they can sell it. Other tenants of the building await the twins' arrival: Elspeth's lover, Robert, lives in the flat below hers and is anxious to meet the two girls whom he has never met. Martin, a severe OCD case, and his wife Marjke live in the flat above and were friends with Robert and Elspeth.

What seems like an ordinary story takes a turn towards the paranormal when the reader is introduced again to Elspeth, this time as a ghost living in her flat, unseen (at first) to her two inheritors. There is mystery surrounding Elspeth's and Edie's relationship - as in what caused the rift in the sisters' relationship. The answer to which is kept in a diary in Robert's flat.

The story becomes more intriguing when Elspeth is able to communicate with the twins and as the twins develop relationships with the other tenants that knew Elspeth. Though the motivation for a secret plan hatching between one twin and the ghost seems unrealistic, it makes for a good story and will hopefully have you reading till the last page.


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