Audio book: Her Fearful Symmetry, By Audrey Niffenegger read by Sian Thomas

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The Independent Culture

Elspeth, our heroine, dies in the first sentence of Her Fearful Symmetry. She hovers above her body and moves on, reappearing as a bored revenant in her own flat next to Highgate Cemetery, stuck in the "spiritual equivalent of house-arrest". Becoming increasingly powerful, she begins to haunt her heirs, the young American twin daughters of her own twin sister. The stage is set for an original, outrageous, and thoroughly enjoyable ghost story.

By the end, one of these four twins is a proper, free-flying spirit. Newly, blissfully released from the oppressive flat, off she goes with all the marvellously varied ghosts of Highgate, flying over London.

The book deals in the chill of spectral presence; the allure of immortality; the inescapability of a twin. And the incomparable Sian Thomas gives Elspeth the husky, sexy voice of Joan Greenwood, and throws in a guttural Dutch accent, several distinct posh English ones, light young American girly tones, a mid-Atlantic middle-aged female and, for good measure, a walk-on part for Nigel, a Brummie. Her reading is irresistible: it manages to make all this spooky nonsense very nearly credible.