Saturday, December 19, 2009
Her Fearful Symmetry
Publication Date: 2009
Who'll want to read it? People with a keen sense of the unusual.
Point of no return: I wanted to read this book because of who wrote it, but even if I hadn't, the first chapter is very captivating.
What's it all about? Robert's girlfriend Elspeth dies, leaving everything except her personal papers to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. Elspeth is herself a twin, although she has not spoken to Edie since her nieces were babies. The conditions of her will state that the girls are to live in her apartment for a year before disposing of it as they wish, and that Edie and her husband Jack are not allowed to enter the apartment at all.
Upstairs from Elspeth's apartment live Martin and Marijke, until Marijke can no longer live with Martin's obsessive compulsive disorder, and leaves him to fend for himself. His OCD won't let him leave the apartment, so he is totally reliant on the Internet, the telephone, and Robert, who lives on the ground floor.
Elspeth, after her death, finds herself back in her apartment, at first just drifting around, but gradually getting stronger. Once the girls have moved in, she begins communicating with them, and with Robert, who still has a key to the flat.
Julia and Valentina have a very close, almost stifling, twin relationship, but their move from America to England puts a strain on this. Julia and Martin develop a close friendship, while Valentina falls for Robert (who reciprocates).
And then things get complicated.
I really didn't like most of the characters in this book, but I was fascinated by their interactions, and their motivations. I still can't figure out if I liked the book itself, but I still class it as a good read, mainly because I am still thinking about it, wondering what happened next.
Edit: I've decided that I DO like it. Robert is very endearing, and I was left with a sense of justice served. This book has generated many conversations between people who have read it, and would make an excellent book club book.