Her Fearful Symmetry

Book: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

"A novel about love and identity, secrets and sisterhood, and the tenacity of life—even after death.

Synopsis: Following her breakout bestseller, The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger returns with 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. [via Amazon]

Book Notes: I really have no idea what took me so long to get around reading this book. I've had it since late last year, but i just kept delaying until i finally came across it once again and i told myself, ok its now or never! the second novel is always the most difficult to write, especially after a majorly successful first! i totally enjoyed the Time Traveler's Wife... i cried and laughed and fell in love with the characters. I loved the originality of the story, and its that same originality that continues on with Her Fearful Symmetry.

The twists of the story were to an extent unexpected. The characters were plotted out extremely detailed, and you felt that you came to really know them very well. Consider this a major strength or a major flaw... the narration of the characters were so detailed that i found myself detesting the twins—Valentina and Julie—for being juvenile 20-year-old girls. I found myself getting terribly annoyed at their wide-eyed approach to the most mundane things, riding the tube freaks them out? I found it absolutely silly, girls who were old enough to live alone acting like they're 12-year-old brats with matching outfits. But of course this was essential to the overall plot, but trying to grasp the irrational logic of the twins made reading this book a tad bit difficult for me to get by.

Nevertheless it was still a very original,and interesting ghost story although not one of my most enjoyable reads.

Quotable Quotes:

"A bad thing about dying is that I've started to feel as though I'm being erased. Another bad thing is that I wont get to find out what happens next."

"Dear Chap, the branches were the ghost. There weren't any trees within a hundred yards of that house. They'd all been cut down years before. I saw the ghost of the tree." Robert thought about it. "That's rather elegant. I was expecting ghouls." "Well, that's just it, you see. I think perhaps if that sort of thing does happen—ghosts—it must be more beautiful, more surprising than all these old tales would have us believe."

"Sometimes a thing is—too much—and it has to be isolated and put away." Martin shrugged. "So what's in the boxes is—emotion. In the form of objects."

"For more than a year now this room has been her haven, fortress, retreat, her triumphant, undiscoverable gambit in her marital game of hide-and-seek. Standing there, clasping the earrings in her hand, Marjike saw he snug room as a lonely place. Apartment. A place to be apart."

"There are several ways to react to being lost. One is to panic: this is usually Valentina's first impulse. Another is to abandon yourself to lostness, to allow the fact that you've missed placed yourself to change the way you experience the world."


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