Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry (Audrey Niffenegger)

Audrey Niffenegger is not yet a household name, such as Grisham, Patterson, or Dan Brown. Yet she is making a huge name for herself in the movies, as her debut novel, "The Time Traveler's Wife", did well in theaters. I am not normally a fan of books being made into movies ("The DaVinci Code", anyone???), but "Her Fearful Symmetry" was made for one.

Haunting, tension-filled, this on a cold winter's night with a steaming cup of tea in your hand. It begins with the death of Elspeth Noblin in London. Before she died, she stipulated in her will that her American nieces, Julia and Valentina Poole, be asked to live in her flat for a year. In exchange, they would each receive a hefty trust. All bets would be off in Elspeth's twin, Edie, and her husband, Jack, set foot in the apartment. Why? One of the central mysteries in the novel is what happened between Elspeth and Edie.

Along the way, we meet Elspeth's neighbors in London...Robert, her young conquest; Martin, who is suffering from crippling OCD; and Marjilke, Martin's estranged wife. Highgate Cemetary, which is located right next to the flat, is its own character, as the plot turns quickly into a ghost story. What will the Poole sisters find in the flat? Will Elspeth ever be able to rest in peace? Those are the questions that will be answered very satisfyingly.

I would give "Her Fearful Symmetry" a 5 if not for the ending. Some questions remained unanswered. However, the story is pure knuckle-tension. Read it and weep.