Monday, October 24, 2016

Her fearful symmetry- Audrey Niffenegger

Her fearful symmetry- Audrey Niffenegger

Reading fiction after many days… the last novel I got from the library was dry , boring ….or was it just my frame of mind ?

But I like this book ...it is alive,colourful,vibrant….I started reading it in the rickshaw that I took to work …. The attraction ?…. a ghost ...well , three ghosts to be exact…

(There is small unrelated ghost story in the book...I mention it because I loved the idea…. ghost of a tree...which doesn’t do anything...just exists ,probably because it longs to….)

This book is a story of two pairs of twins. The story of twins has lots of possibilities...especially when identical...if one believes Indian astrology,then these should have similar ,almost parallel life journeys…( I know a pair of non identical twins ,who have such  parallel life stories…) but then what would the writer’s imagination do ? Write same story twice ? ...boring….well...our twins do not have parallel or similar life stories...but they look remarkably alike….

An interesting factor...this story happens in the vicinity of Highgate cemetery in London...cemeteries are probably atmospheric….there was one next to my ancestral house in Goa...I remember its spooky presence ,though there were no scary stories associated with it …. I could never calmly on the road on which it was situated ….I ran as fast as I could…

Coming back to this book which happens in and around the cemetery ( symmetry and cemetery ...homophones ?) ….

Another interesting snippet ….all characters of this novel have uncommon professions...except may be RJ , but the RJ is an old lady...there is a crossword maker who suffers from OCD , an eternal student doing a doctorate since many years , friends of Highgate cemetery conducting  guided tours and a pair of twins having no interest in education or jobs….(but all I can think is how do they manage their finances…)

I think there is a little of everybody in me...there is Marijke(the RJ) who walks away to a new life , Martin(the crossword setter) who retreats in a shell , Robert who has loved and lost ,a pair of anxious parents Jack and Edie whose twin daughters are ready to move out of the house and of course the twins who don't want to do anything particularly….

Halfway through the book I realise that I have read this before ...but  I remember only a few snatches here and there...like the ghost who loves the cosy comfort of a small drawer and a kitten who unknowingly puts terrible ideas in the heads of both people and ghosts…

I will call this book good ,entertaining but not great. There were many unanswered whys, why did Edie and Elspeth ( the elder pair of twins , Edie being the mother of younger pair of Julia and Valentina) do what they did ? And it defies logic that they did not get caught...why did Elspeth become a ghost ? And why was she confined to that flat ?...

Well...the author did not get any solutions for these , so she has taken the next best alternative….she has made her ghost ponder over these questions….( with no conclusions of course….)