Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger

I mostly loved this, even though it sagged a bit in the middle. Some people seem to hate it because it’s not The Time Traveller’s Wife. Well, it’s not. But it is a graceful, odd, faintly sad novel, populated by characters who are more subtle and have more complex motives than you might first suspect. It has the same kind of matter-of-fact fantasy; I’m not sure whether you’d call it magic realism, or a ghost story. One of the main characters is a ghost (and that’s not a spoiler – she dies in the first chapter). I loved the world Niffenegger creates: the old house on the edge of a cemetery, full of the lonely and the slightly odd. There’s something of the Moomins in characters like Martin, the obsessive/compulsive, trapped in his apartment, or the twins, Julia and Valentina, who when first we meet them sleep curled up together, dress exactly alike, seem to think each other’s thoughts and dream each other’s dreams. I haven’t decided yet what I think The Fearful Symmetry is about – different kinds of love, obsession, power. I’m going to want to reread it, and it’s one of those books that you immediately want to talk about with someone who has read it.

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One Response

  1. I think that is the only real problem with this book. That people who loved TTTW wanted this book to be the same. It’s not. That doesn’t make it bad, just different.. which is the point really.. I am glad you liked it, I have read too many negative reviews.

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