I started the 6 Book Challenge with the aim of reading authors and genres I hadn’t come across before. I sent word to all my friends that I was on the look-out for new material and I asked them to tell me about their much loved books. The response was overwhelming, in fact it was so overwhelming that I retreated to my default setting and chose a book by an author I’d come across before.
Niffenegger’s much-lauded ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ has been one of my favourite books of the last few years. Beautifully written with that old favourite of sci-fi aficionados – time travel – given a new edge, this book is very sweet, extremely sexy and I can’t recommend it highly enough. But that’s not what I’m discussing here.
‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ tells the rather odd tale of the newly-dead Elspeth, whose spirit now inhabits the flat where her living being once dwelled; now owned by her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. It’s written in a rather sad and mournful tone, which reflects the book’s setting in and around London’s Highgate cemetery.
As the tale of the three women unfolds, it intertwines with the stories of Robert, Elspeth’s lover, and Martin, her obsessive compulsive neighbour, and you wonder where on earth (or elsewhere) this story can go. The ending, which is both mad and nonsensical and yet within the context of this tale, strangely logical.
I wouldn’t say I loved ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’, but it was certainly interesting and intriguing. If you don’t mind a bit of mad old nonsense in your reading materials, it’s well worth a go.