The Magazine

Shades of James

A ghost story with a postmodern twist.

Sep 14, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 48 • By THOMAS JOHNSON
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Niffenegger also chooses drama over narrative honesty in her depiction of Elspeth. Elspeth holds a secret throughout Her Fearful Symmetry, which is alluded to in her thoughts but never fully elaborated on until the climax. That secret, once revealed, isn't particularly surprising but by its very nature should have a greater impact on Elspeth's inner monologue.

Even with this fault, however, Her Fearful Symmetry is an affecting read. Each major relationship is a microcosm of the best and worst that love and loving can bring to any person. This emotional resonance, combined with the atmosphere of Victorian spookiness that pervades it, secures its status as a fine ghost story.

Thomas Johnson, an undergraduate at Loyola College, was an intern at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.