Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Thursday, Jan 14, 2010

Four pairs enter, but only two emerge from this dark, sleekly modern ghost story. English lovers Robert & Elspeth are parted when she dies of cancer, while her twin sister and husband remain incommunicado in America. Elspeth's twin nieces are left her flat on the promise that they live there for a year, living below neighbors Martin & Marijke. But Marijke flees her husband's OCD for Amsterdam while Martin struggles alone to carry out his ever-increasing rituals.

The story really picks up when the apartment becomes the perimeter of Elspeth's afterlife - she regains consciousness as a ghost, unable to talk to nieces Valentina & Julia, who have moved into her flat and are uncomfortably confronting the prospect of adulthood (which may split them permanently). And when Valentina becomes able to see and communicate with Elspeth, all hell breaks loose as a plan is hatched... a diabolical idea that will test the boundaries of what twosomes could do for love.

Beyond some heavy-handed foreshadowing ("Little Kitten of Death") this is a solid pick for people who are interested in historic graveyards in England, those who love the exploration of relationships (lovers or siblings; you get both), and readers who are interested in the Big Question: what is possible beyond this mortal coil?

my read shelf:

Written by Erin H.