“The thing that made the twins peculiar was hard to define. People were uneasy when they saw them together without knowing exactly why.”Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger
“Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger is a gothic ghost story that begins with the death of Elspeth Noblin, leaving her partner Robert bereft. Elspeth is estranged from her twin sister Edie, who is now living a contented family life in America, with her husband and twin daughters Julia and Valentina. But then the girls receive a letter from Elspeth’s lawyer, letting them know their unknown aunt has left them her London flat overlooking the famous Highgate cemetery, on the condition that they live in it for a year before deciding whether to sell, and that their parents never cross the threshold. This sets in motion a series of events that alters the lives of the twins, their parents, and the eccentric inhabitants of Elspeth’s building, which Elspeth herself can’t quite seem to leave…
I read this book having previously read “The Time Traveller’s Wife” by the same author. Many things about it appealed to me, including the ghostly gothic atmosphere, and the Highgate setting; although reading about strange and exotic places is great, I take a lot of pleasure from reading about somewhere I know very well! However, I found the main characters quite difficult to like, and in fact found myself rooting for side-character Martin, the twin’s upstairs neighbour. Worth a read for people looking for a contemporary ghost story (or fans of Highgate cemetery!).