Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry

¡Hola amigas!  We spent a very enjoyable and intimate Cinco de Mayo at Casa de Jefe.  True to the day's festivities, we shook up some margs at the bar (El Señor bartending, natch) and dug into a gargantuan platter of chips and homemade guac.  Then, we feasted on three kinds of enchiladas, Ranchero, Suprema, and Carne, with all the usual accoutrements-- beans, rice, chopped cilantro (obv!), a variety of salsas, Mexican crema, and just to make us all feel better, a green salad.  It is nothing less than a testament to our will to stuff ourselves beyond reason that we still managed to polish off half of a chocoloate peanut butter cake.  ¡Muy delicioso!

I'd hit that.

Now on to our book, Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger, which scored an impressive 8.25.

This modern day ghost story set in London was unexpected, playful, and poignant--and everyone loved it.  Each character was different and interesting.  The twins, Julia and Valentina (a.k.a. "Mouse") start out as a lovable pair, relishing the sudden adventure of living together in their late aunt Elspeth's flat, and roaming the streets of London in search of Alexander McQueen (may he R.I.P.)-inspired fashions. 

Alexander McQueen, 1969-2010

Of course things go terribly awry, as is wont to happen when living adjacent to a Victorian cemetary in a haunted apartment.  But in between the book's jaunty beginning and the eerily tragic ending was a good ol' fashioned page turner.  We delighted in Martin's lovable craziness, Robert's nervous but sweet stalking, and the twins' frolics with the Little Kitten of Death and the ouija board that at first seemed to be so harmless.  Most (but not all) of us were surprised by the turn of plot in which Elspeth, rather than Edie, was revealed to be the twins' real mother.  Which only made it more dispicable that she [did that thing that I won't mention in case, dear readers, you haven't finished].  But was it a pre-meditated plan all along, or were her intentions pure?  This is one of several questions to which we'll never know the answer;  while the author tied some threads of the story up neatly at the end, other strange scenes from the book's final pages remain unexplained, such as Julia's encounter with "Valentina" in the store, and Robert's sudden disappearance.  A fitting ending for this supernatural tale.

Highgate Cemetery, North London, England.

Tombs at Highgate

Entrance to the Egyptian Avenue

"Managed neglect" has been the policy at Highgate for the last two decades.

One too many margaritas means that El Jefe does not remember who is hosting in June (yikes, June!), but it may have been the Doctor?  Let us know!  See last month's posting for the book, and until next time...xoej

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