- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Canada; First Thus edition (July 6 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307397467
- ISBN-13: 978-0307397461
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 318 g
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #138,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Her Fearful Symmetry Paperback – Jul 6 2010
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LONGLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD
"An awesomely good read." Chatelaine
"Quirkily observed and rich on every level: plot, character, mood and theme.... She conjures a memorable world, and grants most of her characters happy endings, though perhaps not the ones they would have asked for." The Globe and Mail
"Entertaining.... The reader is pleasantly carried along by the author’s ability to create credible characters and her instinctive narrative gifts.... The most powerful parts of Her Fearful Symmetry...deal not with paranormal events but with the ordinary pleasures and frustrations of life." The New York Times
"A modern Victorian novel revolving around a London cemetery, ghostly hauntings and a well-kept secret.... A bewitching modern-gothic tale that is at once unsettling and intriguing." Chicago Sun-Times
"Talk about time travel: The novel blends the history of London’s famed Highgate Cemetery, the remarkable phenomena of mirror-image twins and the question of life after death into a ghost story that feels as if it could have been written a century ago." National Post
"Odd and disturbing but intensely mesmerizing and memorable. . . . Niffenegger spins such a riveting story--just like she did in The Time Traveler’s Wife--that suspending disbelief is a pleasure." The Miami Herald
About the Author
AUDREY NIFFENEGGER is a visual artist and a guide at Highgate Cemetery. In addition to the bestselling novels The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, she is the author of three illustrated novels, The Three Incestuous Sisters,The Adventuress, and The Night Bookmobile, and the editor ofGhostly. She lives in Chicago and London.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Her Fearful Symmetry has an intoxicating idea behind it: the idea of what happens after we die. And this is an idea that has been written about a million times before. What I enjoyed so much about The Time Traveler's Wife was that she took a subject like time travel and gave it a new twist, brought it out in a way that I hadn't seen before. Her Fearful Symmetry doesn't quite accomplish this task. I was still drawn into the world, the characters, the story...but there was something stilted about the whole thing, something a little less magical.
This book has many characters and the third person POV oscillates back and forth between their stories. Niffenegger weaves her theme of obsession well into each story. There is also the theme of (obviously) symmetry and mirror-images, of being attached to someone, whether that attachment is love, family, genetic, or otherwise. A few times she pushes this theme a bit too much, leaving her authorial fingerprints behind a few too many times.
Niffenegger's writing, as in her first book, is simple and effective. She tells a good story and the pacing works well, leaving me reading for hours on end without boredom. The last quarter of the book, however, contains some plot elements (which I can't delve into here for fear of ruining things) that were a bit difficult for me to swallow, believability-wise. I'm not talking supernatural elements, but more choices characters made. Certain things didn't feel true to the character or the story she had been telling so far, as if Niffenegger had an idea about what she wanted to happen and forced her characters into that idea, even though it didn't seem to fit properly. Obviously, everyone will have their own opinions as to whether the decisions in the last quarter of the book work or not. For me, they didn't. But not in such a drastic way as to ruin the book for me.
I was still entranced by the story, enough so that the disappointments I had about the book took a backstage to my actual enjoyment of reading it. I feel as though the pressure of the second novel after the first was such a success has led Niffenegger to perhaps over think and over write this book, and I look forward to her third novel, where I imagine some of this pressure is alleviated.
better luck next time I guess.
Her Fearful Symmetry started off with a completely different atmospheric hue. And in the beginning, I realised I had to shed any association I had to The Time Traveller's Wife. The author has a knack for researching a topic thoroughly and plunking it seamlessly into the background of a story line. The Highgate Cemetery is now indelibly flushed out for me in a way I would never have cursorily considered previously. I enjoyed learning about London, the Tube system, the ways of speech, and Vautravers.
I do, however, agree with other posts that the last part of the book completely veered away from the first and middle part. The characters began to behave in ways that were not aligned with their character. It felt like watching a slow train wreck that I was horrified for in two ways: 1) the story was unravelling towards travesty due to character inconsistency which is hard to accept/buy into and 2) the characters were behaving so out-of-character that I started to grieve them, separate from them to get distance from them and finish the book more quickly. By the end, I was skipping paragraphs so I could just get the essence, the plot and move towards completion.
I am not a fan of authors' losing the through-line of their characters. It reminded me somewhat, but nowhere as dramatic an undoing, of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. An example of characters being driven to madness and destroying the fabric of a well crafted storyline and character array without regard for the already established personality profile of the characters.
I have faith that Audrey Neiffenegger will likely write more beautiful novels. This one I can't recommend without a lot of caveats.
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And Audrey Niffenegger's latest book is as enjoyable a read as The Time Traveler's WifeRead more