Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Title: Her Fearful Symmetry
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Genre: fiction
Length: 6.5 hours (audiobook)
Borrowed from library
Rating: 5/5

A description of the book from Brad Parsons:

Her Fearful Symmetry, a haunting tale about the complications of love, identity, and sibling rivalry. The novel opens with the death of Elspeth Noblin, who bequeaths her London flat and its contents to the twin daughters of her estranged twin sister back in Chicago. These 20-year-old dilettantes, Julie and Valentina, move to London, eager to try on a new experience like one of their obsessively matched outfits. Historic Highgate Cemetery, which borders Elspeth’s home, serves as an inspired setting as the twins become entwined in the lives of their neighbors: Elspeth’s former lover, Robert; Martin, an agoraphobic crossword-puzzle creator; and the ethereal Elspeth herself, struggling to adjust to the afterlife. Niffenegger brings these quirky, troubled characters to marvelous life, but readers may need their own supernatural suspension of disbelief as the story winds to its twisty conclusion.

So I absolutely loved this book. I have heard from a few people that there have been very mixed reviews about it, but I thought it was great. It’s possible that I liked it more than Time Traveler’s Wife, which I liked as well. I think this wasn’t as confusing. I can’t really explain why I liked this book so much–I guess I just really enjoyed the plot. I mean, I don’t read books that deal with ghosts very much–the only other book I can think of that has this sort of afterlife-ly writing is Peony in Love by Lisa See, which I really liked as well. I found the concept of twins very interesting, and I really felt for Valentina when she wanted to go off and have her own life. I was more on her side than Julia’s–she was too bossy, as I think Niffenegger intended her to be. I mean, I’ve lived with three sisters before, so I can definitely see where the “bossy” part comes in 🙂

I’ve seen one review, from Publisher’s Weekly, on the Amazon.com site that called this book “dull”, “silly”, and “the story is a disappointment”. I fail to see where the “dull” part came in.There might have been a couple of slow spots, but I wouldn’t call them “dull”. Not much of it is silly–I mean, when you consider the fact that Niffenegger’s last book dealt with time travel, this story of ghosts and reincarnation is not weird at all–almost more believable.

Anyway, it just goes to show you that some reviews are not the same as how you feel as an individual reader. I hope this review has helped Jennifer, as she was really looking forward to this post as she’s heard mixed reviews as well 🙂

Next audiobook to read: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (I have attempted to read this book twice and have stopped at the same point both times, out of “boredom”. So I hope listening to it might make a difference.)


2 thoughts on “Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

  1. Glad you liked it. I thought since I wasn’t a fan of The Time Traveler’s Wife I’d like this book. I was thinking maybe people were expecting something more like her last work.

    • Kristie says:

      It’s been a few years since I read Time Traveler’s Wife, so I don’t remember much aside from the main plot. However, from what I can remember, these two are not very similar works.

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