Ghost World

The author of The Time Traveler's Wife returns with a gothic confection of identical twins and lonely spirits

I should make a disclosure before I review Audrey Niffenegger's new novel, which is that I'm an identical twin. I didn't have anything to disclose with her previous novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, because even after numerous attempts I have not yet successfully traveled in time. But Her Fearful Symmetry (Scribner; 406 pages) is about a pair of identical twins, Julia and Valentina, whose mother and aunt, Edwina and Elspeth, are also identical twins.

Novelists love twins--evil twins, vanishing twins, incestuous twins, conjoined twins, spooky dead-little-girl twins. We make handy symbols for any writer who feels inclined to muse on the...

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