Last month we were sent a couple of books to review from the Galaxy Book Club, we asked for two copies of the same book so we could have a Freak Deluxe Book Club (if only for a couple of weeks).
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger was our book of choice, we couldn’t go wrong with the follow up to such a successful debut novel (The Time-Traveler’s Wife), or so we thought.
Her Fearful Symmetry starts well, it’s always a good start when something big happens withing the first two pages. Elspeth Noblin dies of leukaemia age 44, her lover Robert is left to clear up her belongings in the flat that she has left to her (annoying) 20yr old nieces from Chicago. Elspeth is somehow confined to her flat, on the edge of Highgate Cemetery as a ghost.
For the most part Her Fearful Symmetry is more a book about twins and the bonds that tie them. Elspeth’s twin nieces are the daughters of Elspeth’s twin sister Edie. An independent person might find the nieces incredibly annoying, they’re almost 21yrs old, have fairly “normal” parents, yet stick to each other like glue, dress the same, live a fairly sheltered life and behave like they are 7yrs old.
Quite a way into the book, nothing really “fearful” has happened, apart from the fact that the flat back onto a cemetery. Maybe it’s the fact that the twins look so alike, and resemble their dead aunt so much that her lover may want to stalk them. For half of the book, you’re constantly thinking “is the aunt really the mother and the mother the aunt?” and “what happened between the adult twins for them not to have spoken for nearly 20yrs?”
With The Time-Traveler’s Wife it feels as though Niffenegger was writing a “What if?” and going with the flow; with Her Fearful Symmetry it feels like she was writing a book for film with each and every little detail written down from sewing a dress to every detail of a journey on the tube.
If you have big ideals about moving to the Big Smoke, and enjoy stories about love, loss, and obsession then this is the book for you. We’re going to buy some more promotional packets of Galaxy chocolate to see if we can get Lisa Jewell’s novel The Truth About Melody Browne.
The Galaxy Book Club runs until the 21st May 2011. Make sure you enter, books and Galaxy chocolate are made to go together!