Ciska's Book Chest

I am an eclectic reader with preferences for crime/thriller/suspense, historical fiction, literature and contemporary fiction. For more books and other bookish posts visit my blog at Ciska's Book Chest

Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger The authorAudrey Niffenegger was born in 1963 in the idyllic hamlet of South Haven, Michigan. Her family moved to Evanston, Illinois when she was little; she has lived in or near Chicago for most of her life.She began making prints in 1978 under the tutelage of William Wimmer. Miss Niffenegger trained as a visual artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and received her MFA from Northwestern University’s Department of Art Theory and Practice in 1991. She has exhibited her artist’s books, prints, paintings, drawings and comics at Printworks Gallery in Chicago since 1987.Her first books were printed and bound by hand in editions of ten. Two of these have since been commercially published by Harry N. Abrams.In 2003 she published the novel The Time Traveler’s Wife with an indepented publisher. It was an international best seller, and has been made into a movie. For more information on Audrey Niffenegger visit http://www.audreyniffenegger.comThe synopsisWhen Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt; they only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers -- with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another. The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery. They come to know the building's other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling obsessive-compulsive disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive former lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including -- perhaps -- their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.The reviewThis book leaves me confused. I managed to read this book in 2 days. The fact the weather was cold and snowy and invited me to stay curled up on the couch did help but I do not think it would have made a difference. After the first 10 pages I knew I could not put this book down. Why confused... After finishing the book I cannot really find a reason to make it a 5 star book. The characters are well described, they really start to live and even the ghosts are well described and become so real that it does not seem weird they are there. The whole of the story is simply complete. I do not know any other way to describe it without spoilers, but it is right and does justice to all characters and their difficulties. Still I could not make it a 5 star book.The book contains Dutch sentences. One of the characters is a Dutch woman, who sometimes speaks Dutch with her husband. I was pleasantly surprised by this detail but even this could not pull me up to 5 stars. If you would hold this book in your hands asking me if you should read it I would tell you yes, I very much enjoyed it. But I do not think that I will tell people they should read this book if they ask for a recommendation.