Her Fearful Symmetry

By Audrey Niffenegger

From the writer of the number one bestselling The Time Traveler's Wife, a spectacularly compelling novel—set in and close to Highgate Cemetery in London, in regards to the love among twins, women and men, ghosts and the living.

Julia and Valentina Poole are twenty-year-old sisters with an severe attachment to one another. One morning the mailman supplies a thick envelope to their apartment within the suburbs of Chicago. Their English aunt Elspeth Noblin has died of melanoma and left them her London condominium. There are stipulations for this inheritance: that they stay within the flat for a 12 months earlier than they promote it and that their mom and dad now not input it. Julia and Valentina are twins. So have been the women’ aunt Elspeth and their mom, Edie.

The ladies circulation to Elspeth’s flat, which borders the gigantic Highgate Cemetery, the place Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Stella Gibbons, and different luminaries are buried. Julia and Valentina get entangled with their residing buddies: Martin, a composer of crossword puzzles who suffers from crippling OCD, and Robert, Elspeth’s elusive lover, a student of the cemetery. additionally they observe that a lot remains to be alive in Highgate, including—perhaps—their aunt.

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And who had got rid of it? The shelf was once twelve inches deep and eighteen inches extensive. It used to be the 3rd shelf from the ground within the bookcase subsequent to Elspeth’s table. in contrast to the remainder of the workplace, it have been a little lately dusted. there has been additionally a locked drawer within the table, for which they can locate no key. the previous contents of the shelf have been now sitting in Robert’s flat, besides the entire different issues he’d faraway from Elspeth’s, in containers at the flooring subsequent to his mattress. He had now not touched whatever within the bins other than Elspeth’s jumper and footwear, which he had put of their personal drawer in his table. from time to time he could open the drawer and puppy them, then shut it and return to his paintings. He had positioned the bins at the facet of his mattress clear of the door, so it was once attainable for him to not examine them for days. He thought of placing the bins within the spare bed room, yet that appeared unfriendly. ultimately he must discover the contents. prior to Elspeth died he had notion he desired to learn her diaries. He idea he desired to be aware of every little thing, be aware of all her secrets and techniques. but for relatively decades he eliminate touching the diaries or bringing them into his flat. Now they have been right here, and nonetheless he didn't open them. He had his stories, and he didn't wish them altered or disproved. As a historian he knew that any trove of files has incendiary strength. So the packing containers sat like unexploded ordnance at the ground of his bed room and Robert did his top to disregard them. BIRTHDAY GREETINGS IT used to be 12 March, a gray, reducing Saturday; Marijke’s fifty-fourth birthday. Martin awakened at six and lay in mattress, his brain flitting from chuffed anticipation (she might anticipate him to name and needs to definitely solution the telephone) to worried attention of his birthday tribute to her (a dauntingly complicated cryptic crossword within which the 1st and final letters of every clue made a number of anagrams of her complete identify and the answer was once an anagram of a line from John Donne’s ‘A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning’). He had given the crossword and her current to Robert, who had promised to ship it exhibit. Martin had determined to attend till to name. it might be 3 o’ clock in Amsterdam; she may have had her lunch and will be in a peaceful, Saturday-afternoon temper. He received off the bed and commenced to make his method via his morning regimen, feeling like an in basic terms baby expecting his mom and dad to wake on Christmas morning. Marijke awakened harassed, past due within the morning, in vulnerable sun that got here during the shutters and onto her pillow. It’s my birthday. Lang zal ze leven, hieperderpiep, hoera. She had no plan for the day, past espresso and cake with a few neighbors that night. She knew Martin could name, and was hoping that Theo could – occasionally Theo forgot; he appeared to intentionally domesticate a protecting layer of obliviousness. She continually referred to as Theo to remind him of Martin’s birthday; possibly Martin did an analogous for her? She had dreamt approximately Martin, a truly aangename dream in their outdated gezellig flat in St John’s wooden. She have been washing dishes and he had arise in the back of her and kissed the nape of her neck.

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