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Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
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Her Fearful Symmetry (edition 2010)

by Audrey Niffenegger

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,399415805 (3.39)329
Member:trisweather
Title:Her Fearful Symmetry
Authors:Audrey Niffenegger
Info:Vintage (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:twins, tvillinger, life choices, ghosts, spøgelser, OCD

Work details

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

  1. 142
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (obscurelens, sruszala, lahochstetler)
    obscurelens: Story about twins and ghosts. Darker than Her Fearful Symmetry, but I think it's far better than this.
    lahochstetler: Gothic tales of devoted twin sisters, love, and death.
  2. 81
    Highgate Cemetery: Victorian Valhalla by Felix Barker (lilithcat)
    lilithcat: For those who wish to know more about this book's setting, I highly recommend Barker's. It includes an essay on the history of Highgate, one on well-known burials, and has a section of wonderful photographs. Highgate is very unlike the manicured, geometrically laid-out modern cemeteries, and, if those are the only ones with which you are familiar, Barker gives you a sense of the atmosphere this young American women encountered.… (more)
  3. 41
    The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (heidialice)
    heidialice: If you couldn't get enough of Martin and Marijke, or were hoping for a something a bit more like "The Time Traveler's Wife" try "The Gargoyle".
  4. 20
    The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb (VictoriaPL)
  5. 20
    The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue (cataylor)
    cataylor: Both books deal with a spirit trapped in the afterlife who observe the living.
  6. 20
    A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb (wegc)
    wegc: Both books are from the point of view of a ghost interacting with the real world, wanting love.
  7. 54
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (heidialice, Othemts)
    heidialice: Similar in setting, and both ghost stories, these are very different books, but fans of one should be interested in the other.
  8. 10
    Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon (Ciruelo)
  9. 87
    The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (Cecilturtle, krizia_lazaro)
  10. 32
    A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: Both feature a single man with a devoted attachment to a graveyard and its restless ghost.
  11. 00
    The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (sturlington)
  12. 00
    Soulmates by Miranda Glover (Hollerama)
  13. 00
    Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both novels feature Highgate Cemetery.
  14. 00
    Charlie St. Cloud: A Novel by Ben Sherwood (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Death, family, ghosts.
  15. 00
    26a by Diana Evans (terran)
  16. 00
    Rooms by Lauren Oliver (sturlington)
    sturlington: Also a ghost story combined with family drama
  17. 00
    Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers (Othemts)
  18. 01
    The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman (Miranda_Paige)
  19. 01
    The River King by Alice Hoffman (Miranda_Paige)
  20. 24
    The Other by Thomas Tryon (Ciruelo)

(see all 21 recommendations)

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» See also 329 mentions

English (405)  Dutch (4)  German (2)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Croatian (1)  All languages (414)
Showing 1-5 of 405 (next | show all)
I really liked the way this book started and found it hard to put down. All the detail on High gate Cemetery and the characterization of the twins was wonderful, but the story just got a little bit far fetched and disturbing for me. I think it is worth reading, but it could have been better. ( )
  Electablue | Apr 20, 2016 |
I was fascinated by any immensely enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife. Based on how good that book was I was worried this book could not be as good. I did end up enjoying Her Fearful Symmetry. I kept wondering where the plot would end up and that kept me reading, even through the parts that seemed to have no relevance to the story. I finally figured out these seemingly small and insignificant scenes rounded out the dysfunctional lives of the characters. I am not sure if I liked the resolution of the story but it was a logical conclusion to the fanciful story line. ( )
  kewaynco | Apr 10, 2016 |
It wasn't until August that I picked this tale up (after it sat on my nightstand for a year), and then read it in a couple of days. I liked the characterizations (especially Martin, the obsessive compulsive upstairs neighbor), and even bought the beginning of the ghost story, to an extent. But the plotting in the last third of the book strains credulity, to put it mildly. That Valentina would concoct a suicidal plan to escape her needy twin so that she can build a successful career is oxymoronic (heavy emphasis on the moron part). And it gets worse from there. I prefer my doses of the supernatural to be suasible. ( )
  deckla | Apr 5, 2016 |
I'm trying to decide whether I enjoyed this book or not. On the plus side, it was very well written. The characters were intriguing (who doesn't like to read about an anxiety-ridden, OCD, crossword puzzle creator?) The plot was a tad convoluted and there were more than a few creepy moments.

And then there were the twins. As a non-twin, I can't imagine being so intertwined with another person, as Valentina and Julia are. Their aunt and mother are also twins and one of these twins. Secrets, obsessions, and the slow evolution of a monster kept me reading. Still, I was disappointed (and creeped out) by the ending. ( )
  debs913 | Apr 2, 2016 |
I really wanted to like this one more. And I did enjoy the parts about the cemetery interesting and some of the characters, particularly Martin, really caught me up in their stories. The surprises did surprise me--which is not easy to do. But the "thing" that happens (if you've read it you know what I'm talking about), I just found creepy and hard to buy into which, ultimately really effected my feelings about the book. ( )
1 vote mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 405 (next | show all)
Niffenegger’s story is written with a lightness of touch and with a great eye for the oddities of human behaviour.
 
Niffenegger has always identified loss as her main subject, but here at least it’s dissolution: the grim inevitability of decay. The theme of doubleness feeds into this. Valentina wants to break free of the controlling Julia and live her own life, but can she survive without her? Forced togetherness, the “fearful symmetry” of the title, can lead to a diminution of individual identity, a merging of personalities. Sometimes apartness is preferable.
added by riverwillow | editThe Times, John O'Connell (Oct 10, 2009)
 
Instead of fabricating ghosts and faux-Englishmen, it's a shame that Niffeneggers didn't just cut away all the cobwebby Halloween trappings and write a moving, realistic story about a man with OCD who is trapped for real, rather than ersatz, reasons in a flat overlooking a cemetery. She sustains a mood, but it is vaguely repellent, rather than enjoyably disquieting. Instead of a lingering, unforgettable ghost story, this is the novelistic equivalent of a cut-rate séance, a parlour game complete with Ouija boards and cheap theatrics, as unconvincing as knuckles rapping under tables
 
Niffenegger is an extraordinarily sensitive and accomplished writer, and Her Fearful Symmetry is a work of lovely delicacy... But Her Fearful Symmetry is not a book of great emotional force, not the way Time Traveler's Wife was.
added by Shortride | editTime, Lev Grossman (Oct 5, 2009)
 
Mysteries and truths slowly unravel as the story progresses. The major plot resolves predictably, but its grim inevitability fits well with the genre, and a few more surprising twists produce an even more satisfying read than Niffenegger’s bestselling debut.
 

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Audrey Niffeneggerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Niffenegger, Audreymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Niffenegger, AudreyAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Niffenegger, Audreymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Amato, BiancaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Korhonen, PaulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
She said, "I know what it's like to be dead.
I know what it is to be sad."
And she's making me feel like I've never been born.
--The Beatles
Dedication
For Jean Pateman, with love
First words
Elspeth died while Robert was standing in front of a vending machine watching tea shoot into a small paper cup.
Quotations
As a historian he knew that any trove of documents has incendiary potential. So the boxes sat like unexploded ordinance on the floor of his bedroom and Robert did his best to ignore them.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
A compelling novel about love and the power of life. Thetwins Julia and Valentina have an abnormally strong mutualband. On one day they get a letter from a British lawyer. Their auntElspeth Noblin, who they never met, is deceased and let herLondon apartment after her nichtjes.Nadat them from their surpriseare obtained, the girls decide to seize this opportunity for adventure andElspeth move to beautiful apartment, overlooking the Highgatecemetery in London. They learn the other occupants of the buildingknow, including Robert, the lover of their deceased Aunt Elspeth, whoall about the cemetery seems to know. Along, the girlsthat there is much life on Highgate. Especially their aunt seems her earthly life not to leave behind

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Een meeslepende roman over liefde en de kracht van het leven. De tweelingzusjes Julia en Valentina hebben een abnormaal sterke onderlinge band. Op een dag krijgen ze een brief van een Engelse advocaat. Hun tante Elspeth Noblin, die ze nooit ontmoet hebben, is overleden en laat haar Londense appartement na aan haar nichtjes.Nadat ze van hun verbazing bekomen zijn, besluiten de meisjes deze kans op avontuur te grijpen en te verhuizen naar Elspeths prachtige flat, die uitkijkt op de Highgate begraafplaats in Londen. Ze leren de andere bewoners van het gebouw kennen, onder wie Robert, de minnaar van hun overleden tante Elspeth, die alles over de begraafplaats lijkt te weten. Gaandeweg ontdekken de meisjes dat er nog veel leven is op Highgate. Vooral hun tante lijkt haar aardse leven niet goed achter zich te kunnen laten
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After they inherit a London flat near Highgate Cemetery from their aunt Elspeth Noblin, two American twin teenagers move in, but they soon discover that much is still alive at Highgate, including, perhaps, their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old lifebehind.… (more)

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