23 November 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

What a strange story this is. I read it rapidly - the story pulled me in and kept me riveted. It may do the same to you, if you like strangeness - and stories like:
The story begins in a hospital, as Elspeth lies dying with her lover in attendance. She slips into oblivion, but doesn't take her secrets with her. Instead she leaves a collection of journals to her lover, and some requirements in her will involving her twin sister's brood. She's been estranged from her sister, but even so seems to hold a fondness for the children, Julia and Valentina, and has maintained a connection to them through correspondence with her sister.

With this staging, the action begins - with the sure hand of the deceased Elspeth guiding the revolutions of the girls, her lover, and even her sister into her orbit. Her writing The living take their cues from the dead; and the action unfolds with deadly consequences.

When it ends, all the characters lives are reconfigured - some drastically, some in very subtle ways. Relationships have been decimated and resurrected; cowards and heroes come to the fore. But never is the demon that drives the plot exorcised; instead, a destiny shaped of happily ever after awaits.