I loved Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time-Traveller’s Wife so I was really looking forward to reading Her Fearful Symmetry when it came out in paperback. I wasn’t disappointed, though I suspect my husband may not like this one as much. Part of his joy in Time-Traveller was the single premise, carried through to its logical conclusions. Symmetry, in contrast, starts from a single event which has somehow driven twins Elspeth and Edie apart sometime in the past. Now twin daughters Julia and Valentina inherit Elspeth’s London apartment and wonder about the mystery of their estranged aunt.
The apartment overlooks London’s Highgate Cemetery, last resting place of many famous people. The neighbors include an agoraphobic man who’s wife is close to giving up, a permanent student who studies and gives tours of the cemetery, and a stray cat.
Lives are limited by fears, commitments, death and mystery. And all these limits are tested as the story unfolds. Shared lies might heal. Hidden secrets might wound. And a love reborn might be at risk from a love not wholly dead. The story is clever, twisted and creepy, with losses that slip away and turn into gains and certainties that fail. But it doesn’t have any single defining premise, and some of its coincidences loom larger than they might. Not one for my husband, but certainly an enjoyable read for me. If you liked Time-Traveller for the author’s powerful writing style, or you’re looking for mystery and subtle hints at more than the eye can see, and if you don’t mind impossible possibilities, then you’ll enjoy this book.