This is a creepy book, and the creepiness actually has little to do with the fact that its main character is a ghost, or that much of it takes place in and around London’s historic Highgate Cemetery. It comes from its characters, a mostly amoral bunch who seem to think nothing of wreaking complete ruin on others’ lives. But while this aspect of the book pushed me away with one hand, Audrey Niffenegger’s excellent storytelling and eye for detail pulled me in with the other. I enjoyed being immersed in London (a place I’ve never been), and I really did want to race to the end to find out what happened to Julia and Valentina, American twins who have been left a flat by their mysterious aunt Elspeth on the condition that they live in it for a year. It was a little like being fascinated by the proverbial car wreck.
Just as she did for time travel in The Time Traveler’s Wife, Niffenegger sets up a fairly plausible set of ground rules for ghosts and spirits – and like Henry the time traveler in that previous novel, the ghosts here have little say in their circumstances. That’s why I was disappointed when, near the end, a couple of things happen that seem to contradict the ground rules. The book as a whole, though, pulls you along compellingly to its shocking end. Readers who are looking for a tale similar to The Time Traveler’s Wife won’t find it here.
- review by Liz Galoozis, Reference Librarian/Coordinator of User Education
Want to Learn More?
Learn more about the author Audrey Niffenegger on her website. Her visual art is featured as are photographs of Highgate Cemetery.
Check It Out!
Find out if Her Fearful Symmetry is currently on the shelves through our catalog record.