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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.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 13th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
I just saw that in the bookstore yesterday and was intrigued, since I did indeed enjoy The Time-Traveler's Wife. I will have to add it to my List.
Dec. 13th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
I have seen it in bookshops and since my To Read pile is excessively high (or would be if I were so foolish as to actual pile all the books up) I am not supposed to be buying more books, but I'm now tempted. Will probably try to pick it up in London next week.
Dec. 14th, 2009 07:44 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed it too (also a big fan of TTTW), although I was extremely close to giving up on it at one point and only pushed on because it was very near the end - I won't mention which bit because there are clearly people commenting who haven't read it and it would be a bit of a ruiner, but I nearly HATED the ending, and then I didn't. However, I think it was more an "I'm not sure I like where this is going" moment, because the pacing had picked up again by that point.

It also really made me want to re-read The Time of the Ghost which I still haven't done, hm.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
I shall check it out.

Edited at 2009-12-23 01:09 am (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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