No. of pages: 386
Synopsis: Julia and Valentina Poole are normal American teenagers - normal, at least, for identical 'mirror' twins who have no interest in college or jobs or possibly anything outside their cozy suburban home. But everything changes when they receive notice that an aunt whom they didn't know existed has died and left them her flat in an apartment block overlooking Highgate Cemetery in London. They feel that at last their own lives can begin ...but have no idea that they've been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive-compulsive crossword setter who lives above them to their aunt's mysterious and elusive lover who lives below them, and even to their aunt herself, who never got over her estrangement from the twins' mother - and who can't even seem to quite leave her flat. With Highgate Cemetery itself a character and echoes of Henry James and Charles Dickens, "Her Fearful Symmetry" is a delicious and deadly twenty-first-century ghost story about Niffenegger's familiar themes of love, loss and identity.
Review: When Elspeth dies, she leaves all her belongings to her identical twin nieces, who she saw only once when they were 4 months old. The twins don't even know that their mother is an identical twin herself, so it comes as a big surprise when they get the letter to tell them they now own a flat in London. When they move into the flat, they meet Martin, the middle aged guy who lives upstairs who's crippled with severe OCD and can't leave his flat. They also meet Robert, the guy who lives below them, who was their aunt's lover. As they settle into life in their flat, they realise Elspeth isn't as gone as they thought...
I really was expecting a lot from this book, maybe too much and that's why I felt so disappointed when I had finished. But I think more than that, there was just that something that made The Time Traveler's Wife so great, that was missing from Her Fearful Symmetry. The story itself was okay, there were some great characters, but I sometimes felt there was no explanation for some of the characters actions, when it didn't seem to fit with what we knew of their personalities.
I guessed one of the big plot surprises about 40 pages in, it seemed incredibly obvious and I'm curious to see if it's as obvious for other people too. I absolutely hated the last quarter of the book, it just got more and more ridiculous and I felt it ruined the whole tone of the story with such a poor ending. On the plus side though, the writing is incredibly easy to read, and so it feels like the story is progressing very quickly rather than being long and drawn out.