The Time Traveller’s Wife is one of my favourite books, and so I was very excited about the release of Audrey Niffenegger’s second novel.
Her Fearful Symmetry is set in London and focuses on a set of mirror twins who inherit a flat from their aunt, which overlooks Highgate Cemetery. The twins are excited about moving to England, but wonder what secrets lie within their family’s past. Through meeting the friends of their deceased aunt, they begin to build a picture of her, and slowly realise that the ghost of their aunt still lives in her flat.
I loved the first third of the book – the tension was built up amazingly well; the emotion equal to that she achieved in The Time Traveller’s Wife. Unfortunately the emotion failed to be maintained throughout the rest of the book. The plot took over, and although I enjoyed reading it, the special emotional tension I love was lacking. I didn’t really care about the twins and although I loved the ghostly aunt, I found that I couldn’t really engage with her either.
I also felt that parts of the book were over researched. I know that Highgate Cemetery is a fascinating place, but if I wanted to know everything about it then I’d go on a tour. Audrey Niffengger did an admirable job of writing the entire book in British English, but I wonder if she went too far. I’d love to know whether people from other parts of the world were mystified by some of the obscure references to specific UK personalities/products (which I also think will date the book very quickly).
I am being a bit harsh. The Time Traveller’s Wife was such an amazing book, my expectations were probably too high. Her Fearful Symmetry does have a very good plot and the settings are meticulously described. It is a gentle, mildly spooky ghost story, which will appeal to fans of The Little Stranger – the perfect book for Halloween.
Did you enjoy Her Fearful Symmetry or are you looking forward to reading it?
Did you prefer Her Fearful Symmetry or The Little Stranger?