Her Fearful Symmetry

Cheryl and I talked on the phone yesterday after we’d both finished reading our books, (within about an hour of each other) and had our book discussion. We agreed that this was a good book, one we would recommend, well written, a storyline that is unique, compelling and intriguing. As in the Time Traveler’s Wife, the author makes the the impossible seem plausible, almost believable, in that science fiction-meets drama kind of way.

I was moved by the characters in the story, by the twinness of both sets of twins. Reading about the interconnections of those relationships, again had me wondering about Mom and Diane and what it was like for them growing up, and then separating, and then their final goodbye when Diane died several years ago.

I asked Cheryl to write something about the book for me to post here on my blog and this is what she sent me:

“To what lengths would you go to live your life on your own terms? Some of the choices that the main characters made in this book made me cringe, but I had to keep reading to find the outcomes. This book was very well written, even though parts were a bit confusing, requiring me to go back and reread a few passages. Because the book involves two sets of twins, and made me think of my own mother’s relationship with her twin sister, I thought they would be my favorite characters. But the passages that touched me the most were about a neighbor dealing with OCD:

‘Once I thought there were two realities, inner and outer, but perhaps that’s a bit meagre . . . How will we recognise each other, after all that’s happened? How will we manage to realign our realities, which are moving away from us even as we travel towards them?’ My sister chose this book for our newly formed virtual book club. This was a great choice and I highly recommend it.”

I don’t know why Cheryl goes on and on about me writing a book. Every time she writes a review for a book, and she does so often, I’m struck by her writing ability. I read her review over and over and kept getting stuck writing my own.

I think what really struck me about reading this book, wasn’t even the book itself, but that I was keenly aware of my sister reading the same thing at the same time. It changed how I read, and changed how I interpreted. I was not just reading for my own pleasure, but wondering all along what Cheryl was thinking while she read as well. Wondered if she was moved by the same parts I was moved by. Wondered if she laughed at the parts I laughed at. Wondered if the ghost story-ness of this book troubled her like it did me at times, and if the secrets being revealed made her cringe as they did me.

All in all, this was a fun experiment, and one that we agreed we would like to do again.

Cheryl will pick the next book, and I eagerly wait for her to give me the title! In the meantime, I’m reading Henry’s Sisters by Cathy Lamb, one of the books in the last bag of books my sister gave me.


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