Monday, December 28, 2009

Book Review: Her Fearful Symmetry

This is one of the books of 2009 that I so anticipated reading. I loved The Time Traveler's Wife (my review here), and I'd read good things about Niffenegger's second novel.

Happily, I was not disappointed. Her Fearful Symmetry is the story of two sets of twins, Elspeth and Edie (the first generation), and Julia and Valentina, the daughters. When Elspeth dies, she leaves her London apartment to her nieces, and then comes back to haunt them—affectionately. Sort of.

Along with the apartment come an assortment of inhabitants, including Elspeth's long-time partner, and a lot of secrets. While Julia and Valentina try to figure out their own identities and sort through secrets, their own relationship begins to fall apart.

Her Fearful Symmetry reminded me a lot of Diana Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale (my very short review here), with a satisfying inclusion of ghosts and cemeteries. The last few chapters of Her Fearful Symmetry fell a little flat for me, but I didn't care too much. Niffenegger is a fantastic storyteller. If the idea of time traveling put you off of The Time Traveler's Wife, I'd recommend starting with Her Fearful Symmetry. (And then—go back and read the former, please!)


Literary Feline said...

I am glad you enjoyed this one. I haven't read The Time Traveler's Wife yet, I admit, and this one appeals to me a bit more so it may be the one I start with. Thanks for your great review!

Greg Zimmerman said...

Interesting. You may be the first reviewer I've seen who read Time Traveler's Wife AND enjoyed this book. That give me a bit of hope -- I'd all but banished Her Fearful Symmetry, but it's creeping back up my priority list, now. ;)

Anonymous said...

I just finished this book this afternoon - I didn't like it! It was too strange for me. I liked The Time Traveler's Wife but didn't love it. Liked it better than this one though. I am ready to move onto something more cheerful. :-)

wisteria said...

I also have read reviews that were not too kind. I'm glad you liked it, because I planned on reading it.
Thanks for your great review. :) Wisteria

Danielle Zappavigna said...

this is on my reading pile, as i LOVED the time traveller's wife (makes me cry every time), thanks for the review, can't wait to read it myself