Summary

Aunt Elspeth's flat, next to Highgate Cemetery in London, has been willed to her nieces, feckless American twins Julia and Valentina. Eccentric neighbors are one thing, but why won't Elspeth stay buried? It looks as if Niffenegger has managed a witty follow-up to The Time Traveler's Wife.


When 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, 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. They are twenty. .

The girls move to Elspeths flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the buildings other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martins devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeths elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunts neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including--perhaps--their aunt, who cant seem to leave her old apartment and life behind..

Niffenegger weaves a captivating story in "Her Fearful Symmetry" about love and identity, about secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life--even after death..