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Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel Hardcover – September 29, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
That puts a lot of pressure on the author as well as the reader. I had to begin the book with an open mind to read it as a stand alone and not a 'follow-up' to The Times Traveler's Wife.
The story begins with the untimely death of Elspeth who leaves behind her lover, Robert. Robert has an apartment (flat) in the same building as Elspeth and is devastated by her death. Elspeth leaves her London flat to her nieces (twins living in the United States) under the condition that their mother (Elspeth's twin, Edie) never steps foot in the flat. This begs the question of what could have happened between the two sisters (Elspeth and Edie) to cause such tension and need for control. The 20 year-old twins, full of quirky thoughts and behaviors, move to London and Robert, intrigued and haunted by their resemblance to Elspeth, stalks them for awhile before eventually meeting up with them during a tour he was giving at Highgate Cemetery. The story really develops with the reemergence of Elspeth as a broody ghost, destined to stay in her flat watching over and desperately trying to communicate with her nieces as they begin their new lives in London.
As I began this book, I was immediately caught up in Ms. Niffenegger's wonderful ability to create characters that become amazingly real right from the start. She has an uncanny way of creating relationships built on such a deep love that we yearn to be involved with those in our own lives with the same depth of feeling.
The story begins beautifully (and sad), the concept is wonderful and the characters are richly developed. Ms.Read more ›
I cannot write a review of this book without talking about spoilers, so if you're considering reading the book, stop here.
I have never had a book evoke so much anger in me. Learning that I'd been lied to for years as a child about Santa Claus didn't piss me off this much. This potentially great book was a waste of the authors time and all the paper it's printed on. What started out as great story turned completely sewer-worthy about halfway through by one huge stupid idea that was ridiculous as well as selfish and completely void of empathy and logic.
Two young twins moved into a flat in London located on the property of a famous cemetery where prominent people were buried. The flat was willed to the twins by their Aunt whom they'd never met. They soon discovered the Aunt's ghost was also living in the flat, but once they could communicate with her, all was friendly. Along with other interesting residents in the building which included the Aunt's boyfriend downstairs, and an OCD man upstairs who's wife had just left him, it made for a very interesting story. The Aunt and the twins' mother - also twins, had not spoken in years, and the secrecy surrounding their estranged relationship, in addition to the developing relationships between the twins and building tenants, gave the story plenty of mystery and possible story lines. But after the ghostly Aunt accidentally caught the resident kitten's spirit, pulling it out and rendering him dead, and then re-installing it, (yes, I'm not kidding) the twin who wanted nothing more than to be free of her over-bearing sister, conjured a scheme to be temporarily killed and brought back to life so she could escape. I was baffled by this ridiculous idea and thought it would be cast off as that, ridiculous!Read more ›
Fans of The Time Traveler's Wife will be eager to read Audrey Niffenegger's second novel and nothing I write should discourage them from that. There are undeniable pleasures in Her Fearful Symmetry--there is a strong sense of local color, and that locality is a particularly appealing part of London. There are several eccentric characters who are at least fun to get to know--at first. And for anyone who really likes ghost stories, there is a ghost story, even including whole sections located in the mind of the main ghost, so we are seeing the world with a ghost's eye view during several important parts of the narrative.
Ms. Niffenegger is also skillful at shifting points of view and perspective, building a degree of suspense as she does so. But she builds that very slowly, indeed. I enjoy the kind of "classic" narrative that builds slowly, gradually dealing out the details of the characters' lives and revealing by steps the important information that advances the plot. But there can be too much of that, and I have to say that well over half of this novel passes slowly by before much of the potential suspense and interest begins to take hold; in the final quarter of the novel, the potential intensity of the story grabs the reader who has been extremely patient until that point.
The main characters of Her Fearful Symmetry are two sets of twins, mother/aunt and the daughters/nieces of the mother twin.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this book was strange to say the least. Perhaps weird is a better word. I liked 2 of the minor characters better than the main characters, and the whole theme of "ghosts"... Read morePublished 3 days ago by SUZANNE TRANQUILLE
This is the second novel from Audrey Niffenegger, the same author who brought you "The Time Traveler's Wife". Read morePublished 9 days ago by Nancy A
I enjoyed the first two thirds of the story and then it started to take a very unusual bend (for me). I finished it but really disliked the latter stages. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I read this book a few years ago on the recommendation of my manager at the time and I could not put it down. It was a great story with twists and turns I was not expecting. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Liela Marie Fuller
I recommend this book with one caveat: tear of the last third of the book and burn it, read what is left, then wonder for the rest of your life about how it all ended. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Luc Tassaert