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3. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger...

January 7, 2010
FTC Disclosure: My copy of Her Fearful Symmetry was on loan from my local library. I am an IndieBound and Amazon affiliate, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

her fearful symmetryAbout the book:
When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt; they only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers -- with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.

The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery. They come to know the building's other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling obsessive-compulsive disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive former lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including -- perhaps -- their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

drey's thoughts:
I hate to say this. I really, really do. But, I couldn't get into the story, and I didn't finish the book. For me, this was a disappointing follow-up to The Time Traveler's Wife, which I loved.

The twins are interesting, and the inhabitants of Highgate too. But the story lost me when Elspeth and Valentina conspire to have Elspeth inhabit Valentina's body. Like, *shudder* ugh. I can understand why Elspeth would want to--she's a ghost haunting her own apartment, watching the twins living, and watching Robert. But why on earth does Valentina? And when the story of Elspeth and her twin, Edie, comes to light, I'm even more baffled as to why on earth Elspeth would do such a thing. And that's where I put the book down.

I did think that Martin and Marijke are wonderful characters--and how they still loved each other, even when apart.

Did you read this? What did you think?

drey's rating: Meh (did not finish)

Title: Her Fearful Symmetry
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
ISBN-13: 9781439165393
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon

Challenges: 100+, Support Your Local Library


Melanie said...

I read it and I really liked it. It was slow going at first - the early part doesn't have the action that Time Travelers Wife did and I kept expecting it. But it did finally pick up. I do think the questions you have about the book are what is going to make this a great book for book clubs.

mpartyka said...

I'm sorry to hear this - I really liked this book (I couldn't put it down)- just as much as Time Traveler's Wife.

Unfortunately, this happens sometimes.

drey said...

Thank you, Melanie & Mari! I know I can't be the only person who's read and not liked the book. In fact, I'm betting that lots of others liked it just fine. If you have reviews, I'll link it to mine, so that there's something to offset my opinion. =)

Amanda said...

I liked the Highgate cemetery part. The twin aspect was intriguing, and I LOVED the Martin/Marijke part. But if that's where you got creeped just gets more shuddering creepy towards the end. The only redeeming thing is you might want to see what happens to Martin/Marijke. I'll admit it wasn't one of my favorites either. :(

Melissa said...

I rarely read summaries of books and didn't actually know what this one was about, but I think it sounds odd...I'll still give it a try, but it might take a while. After all, I still haven't read TTW!

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