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

by Audrey Niffenegger

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,926None943 (3.4)315
Member:AmyLC
Title:Her Fearful Symmetry
Authors:Audrey Niffenegger
Info:Scribner (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 406 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, ghosts, England, cemeteries

Work details

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

2009 (41) 2010 (60) 2011 (24) cemeteries (110) contemporary fiction (39) death (92) England (93) family (46) fantasy (89) fiction (630) ghost stories (66) ghosts (359) gothic (34) Highgate Cemetery (74) Kindle (27) London (226) love (42) mystery (20) novel (62) OCD (39) own (25) read (64) read in 2009 (44) read in 2010 (53) romance (24) sisters (85) supernatural (62) to-read (111) twins (291) unread (34)
  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: A Novel 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
    Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (KayCliff)
  13. 00
    Charlie St. Cloud: A Novel by Ben Sherwood (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Death, family, ghosts.
  14. 00
    26a by Diana Evans (terran)
  15. 00
    Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers (Othemts)
  16. 01
    The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman (Miranda_Paige)
  17. 01
    The River King by Alice Hoffman (Miranda_Paige)
  18. 24
    The Other by Thomas Tryon (Ciruelo)
  19. 29
    Beloved by Toni Morrison (Othemts)
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» See also 315 mentions

English (364)  Dutch (4)  German (2)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (372)
Showing 1-5 of 364 (next | show all)
As an author, it must be a dreadful pressure trying to write the book which follows such a popular, much loved and well-reviewed book like [The Time Traveller's Wife]. I remember hearing [[Audrey Niffenegger]] got a massive advance for [Her Fearful Symmetry]. Sadly, I did not enjoy HFS at all - it was all so un-anchored, the characters thin, for a very light book it was misery all round except for a very brief smile from Valentina midway, the setup was unbelievable and whilst some of the threads were tied up, others were left dangling. Just a very unsatisfying read. I did wonder if I didn't have expectations set up from her previous book whether I would have felt differently, but I think it's unlikely I would have even HFS if it wasn't for TTTW. Having said that, I'm crossing my fingers that [[Audrey Niffenegger]] can writes another fab book, with the imagination and warmth of TTTW. ( )
  tandah | Mar 30, 2014 |
Ghost story? No problem. Fun, even. Ridiculous medically implausible twist? You lost me.

HFS borrows from the 19th century playbook of young girls falling for much older men, which in today's world is a tad creepy. I failed to be charmed. This book felt like a chore. ( )
  alienhard | Mar 26, 2014 |
very creative, dark, good read ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
Fantastic, haunting - the setting is so vivid that I still remember it, and it's been over a year since I read it. ( )
  javagg | Jan 22, 2014 |
A fascinating and eerie story of twins, their growth together and apart as individuals. Niffenegger does a remarkable job drawing these characters for us; both the twins, their mother and her twin sister, and the supporting cast of their lives have lingered in my mind well after the book was done.

Bookcrossing: http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/8435393/ ( )
  wareagle78 | Jan 22, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 364 (next | show all)
Niffenegger’s story is written with a lightness of touch and with a great eye for the oddities of human behaviour.
 
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 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)
 
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
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.)
Disambiguation notice
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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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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