Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger - review by Suzi Feay

Suzi Feay

London Gothic

Her Fearful Symmetry


Jonathan Cape 390pp £18.99

I’m always vaguely suspicious of plots that require identical twins to function, especially in films; it seems such a cheap trick. Audrey Niffenegger’s follow-up to her bestseller The Time-Traveller’s Wife deploys not one but two sets of twins, one pair moreover being genetic ‘mirror images’, with matching but opposite facial moles and reversed internal organs. For fans of TTW, here’s another helping of kooky Gothic, this time with more horror than romance, set in and around Highgate cemetery in London. 

Middle-aged Elspeth, a rare-book dealer, dies of leukaemia in the first few pages. She has been estranged for years from her twin, Edie, who stole her boyfriend and went to live in Chicago. In fairy-tale fashion, Edie’s twin daughters Julia and Valentina inherit Elspeth’s flat in gloomy Vautravers

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