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Her Fearful Symmetry – Review

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Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Age: 16+ years old
Twins Eslpeth and Edwina live separate lives, one in London and the other in Chicago. Neither sister has spoken for over a decade until Eslpeth becomes diagnosed with cancer and soon starts correspondence with her long lost twin. After her death, she wills her second floor flat in London to her nieces, twins Julia and Valentina. In her will she states that they must live in the flat for one year before deciding if they want to sell it. What Eslpeth had not accounted for, was that her spirit would return from the grave to haunt the flat, the girls, changing their lives.

To be honest, I found this book to be really dull. I thought Eslpeth made for an incredibly boring ghost, the twins were annoying and there weren’t any likable characters other than Martin (and I wish we learned more about Martin). There was a big rift between the elder twins that caused them to not talk for over a decade, but by the time you found out what that secret was, it didn’t effect the plot at all and seemed to be a let down. One of the girls from my book club compared this book to Breaking Dawn: so much build up for nothing. I wouldn’t go that far. Audrey Niffenegger is still incredibly more talented as a thinker, creator and writer than Stephanie Meyer. The ending of HFS felt rushed, and I was mad that it ended just as it got interesting. The ending was predictable (I guessed what would transpire between Eslpeth and Valentia halfway through the book).

What I did like:

I love Niffenegger’s descriptions and characters. Although they weren’t likable, they were fully formed and had their own personalities and histories. I loved that she used British slang and colloquialisms in her writing and I loved learning about Highgate cemetery and its history. I will not compare this book to Time Traveler’s Wife, because they are completely different and one should not be judged based on the other. I love her emphasis on character development and seeing how Martin and Valentina progressed and grew stronger while the initially stronger characters (Julia and Marijke) grew weaker. It was an interesting dynamic.

Overall, I was disappointed with the book. It wasn’t creepy and it wasn’t very original. It had many elements that I have seen in countless ghost movies and read in other ghost stories.

Her Fearful Symmetry
by Audrey Niffenegger
Scribner Books, 2009
ISBN 9781439165393
404 pages

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Find this book at your local library

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HFS – a cover story

The various shades of Her Fearful Symmetry.

Through a series of events, I somehow ended up with 3 versions of the newest Audrey Niffenegger book, Her Fearful Symmetry. One copy is an ARC that I found at the library. The second copy is one that I had pre-ordered from Amazon.com and lastly, the third copy is the signed copy that I won from a Twitter drawing run by Scribner Books. Each copy has a different cover and a different feel to it.

hfs

I’ve said it before, I am one of those shameless readers that picks out books based on their cover art. I have to admit that the blue and black covers definitely catch my eye and I think the black cover just makes the book seem much more creepy. I haven’t been able to find any information on the black cover, ie, if its the European cover or not. The only other cover art I’ve seen besides the blue cover is this one, and that’s been on online reviews:

I went into The Time Traveler’s Wife not knowing a single thing about the book or the author.

I bought it on a whim from Border’s Express because they had a buy 2 get 1 free sale and I wanted to read Life of Pi (which I never did finish, but that’s a story for another post).

At the time I started reading TTW, my boyfriend and I had just begun the first leg of our 2 year long-distance relationship and I could relate very much with the Claire and Henry. Unsure of my future with the man I loved, unsure of when I would see him, or for how long. 6.5 years after our first date, he proposed and now I know what our future is. TTW hit me in a way that very few books do, and even though my relationship has progressed, I don’t feel that I’ve outgrown the book.

Her Fearful Symmetry is the November pick for my book club. I want to read it right now, but at the same time, I don’t. It seems like everyone really loves this book, they say its better than her first. I’m very wary, but I should just open up the book and get it over with right? Putting it off will only make me expect that much more out of it, I think.

Are there any books you put off reading because of all the hype surrounding its release? How does the hype effect your reaction to the book?

Audrey Niffenegger news

Well, fans of the Time Traveler’s Wife now have something to latch onto. Audrey Niffenegger just sold her manuscript for her second novel for $5 million dollars to Scribner, a unit of Simon & Schuster. The book is set to be released at the end of September. Likewise, the movie of Time Traveler’s Wife is given a February release date (I can only assume Feb 2010, since it did not come out this past February).

You can read the full article here: