The brilliant new novel from the author of the massive international bestseller, The Time Traveler's Wife.
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Published: 05 July 2010
Genre: General & literary fiction
When Elspeth Noblin dies she leaves her beautiful flat overlooking Highgate Cemetery to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina Poole, on the condition that their mother is never allowed to cross the threshold. But until the solicitor's letter falls through the door of their suburban American home, either Julia nor Valentina knew their aunt existed. The twins hope that in London their own, separate, lives can finally begin but they have no idea that they've been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive-compulsive crossword setter who lives above them to their aunt's mysterious and elusive lover who lives below them and works in the cemetery itself. As the twins unravel the secrets of their aunt, who doesn't seem quite ready to leave her flat, even after death, Niffenegger weaves together a delicious and deadly ghost story about love, loss and identity.
Dark and delicious
Tom Adair, Scotsman
What is really satisfying about this novel, like The Time Traveler's Wife, is its depiction of relationships: the process of grief, the transforming power of love
An original, outrageous, and thoroughly enjoyable ghost story
There may be ghosts, but it's the human stories that glitter
A rich, involving novel
A double set of twins, an ancient cemetery, and a fantastic haunting storyline are part of Audrey Niffenegger’s latest work, “Her Fearful Symmetry.” The main protagonist, Elspeth Noblin, is one of an identical set of twins who has recently passed away due to cancer. She has left her apartment in London to her identical twin nieces, Julia and Valentina, children of her twin sister Edie. It is at this stage of the novel that the story truly begins. Julia and Valentina must live in the apartment no less than one year before they can actually sell the property. Elspeth’s boyfriend, Robert is a caretaker at the Highgate Cemetery, where various researchers, authors, and political figures are buried. The cemetery is a perfect backdrop for all that is mysterious, inexplicable, and unusual. Niffenegger discusses the idea of the possibility of some type of afterlife. She exemplifies this with the use of Elspeth as a ghost. We, the reader, experience Elspeth’s struggles of dealing with being a mere presence without a body. Her progress to gain some strength to make herself known to others is quite inspiring. The nefarious side of this aspect is when Elspeth discovers how powerful she really is, she decides to use her strength for purposes to suit her. Like all traditional gothic novels, there are secrets buried within secrets. The measure of a great writer is the ability to divulge those secrets at the right moment when the reader least suspects it. There are some clues throughout the novel that can lead the reader to a certain point without specifically defining the actual event until its proper time. Niffenegger is quite skillful at this aspect of her writing. “Her Fearful Symmetry” will haunt the reader for a long time.
This book is exactly what I expected from the author of 'Time Traveler's Wife'... Astonishing, riveting. It took my breath away. Unlike a lot of novels, this is one full of surprising twists and turns that will make it unforgettable.
Following The Time Traveler's Wife must've been really hard - that book is the only book that has made me sob every single time i've read it! However, Her Fearful Symmetry picks up exactly where TTTW ends - and turns it on it's head. You begin with the same sadness as the end of TTTW, someone has just died, grief and change is the dominating theme - however then you're thrown right into a magical ghost story - all set in and around the fantasticly atmospheric Highgate Cemetery! From identical twins, to modern romance to a very special kitten - this is a must-read.
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Now a major motion picture starring Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer and John Malkovich ...
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Audrey Niffenegger is the author of the international bestsellers The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry. She has also published three illustrated books with Cape: The Three Incestuous Sisters ...