Friday, January 22, 2010

"Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night"

My friend Diana passed along her copy of Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry for me to read. (The title comes from the poem by William Blake referenced in today's title.) I was really excited about this book when I started because the premise is right up my alley: American twins are left a flat in London that overlooks Highgate Cemetery by their mother's twin sister whose ghost is haunting said flat.
Good Things checklist:
  • London - check
  • cemetery - check
  • ghosts - check
  • handsome British neighbor who is doing PhD thesis on Victorian cemeteries and funerary customs (That's my PhD thesis, if I were going to actually write one.) - check

    What's not to love? (Or so I thought.) When I first started reading the book, I DID love it. In fact, I was enjoying it so much that I felt the need to text message status updates to JR (who had already read the book). They are as follows:
    * This book has me longing for London. SIGH
    * I wish someone would leave me a flat in London above a man like "Robert Fanshaw".
    * Exactly halfway. If Robert becomes a prat, don't tell me. I couldn't bear it. He loves Pre-Raphaelites.
    * Page 230, just IDed and translated the subjunctive from the Latin. Haven't had to do that in 15 years. EEK!

    It was getting late when I stopped texting her, but I continued to read until midnight. The following morning I sent her this email:
    * I never want to meet anyone like the people in this book EVER. OMG.
    Don't you just hate it when that happens? Wonderful premise, ideal location, and then main characters that you would like to punch in the nose? In the words of the immortal Kevin Kline, in his Academy-Award winning role in A Fish Called Wanda: DISAPPOINTED!!! (I am sure that other people feel differently about the characters than I do; I would love to hear an explanation of why they shouldn't all be in therapy for life. The characters, not the people who like them, that is.)

    On the upshot, I now know that I definitely want to add Highgate Cemetery to my itinerary for my next trip to London, whenever that might be. Here is a photo of another lovely Victorian garden cemetery: Mount Auburn Cemetery
  • No comments:

    Post a Comment


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...