Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

A rather strange book club choice this month. I was hoping that this may conjure up quite a debate between our members, but in fact it was one of the least talked about books we have ever chosen.

The theme of twins runs through out the novel. Firstly there are the sisters, Elspeth and Edie, followed by the children, Julia & Valentina. Elspeth dies quite early on in the book and estranged from a sister for many years, decides to leave her London flat to Julia and Valentina on the proviso that they live there for at least a year and don’t ever allow their Mother to see it. There are beautiful moments of intense grief by Robert, husband of Elspeth. Although we did feel that the character of Martin was very much an extra, even though he provided some solace for the twins.

The novel itself felt quite claustrophobic – all the people living in the flats, not related to one another, yet very damaging. The setting of the book in the cemetary intrigued the book club members more than the book itself. Valentina killing herself was felt to be more drama queen than tragic and the whole Elspeth turning into Valentina was deemed weird rather than eccentric.

I loved the fact that this book is different to others. I loved the twists and turns and the fact that it delves into the life of individuals that on the surface you think are quite normal, unfortunately most of the other book club members didn’t agree.

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