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Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
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Her Fearful Symmetry (edition 2009)

by Audrey Niffenegger

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,530429782 (3.39)333
Member:sturlington
Title:Her Fearful Symmetry
Authors:Audrey Niffenegger
Info:New York : Scribner, 2009.
Collections:Read but unowned, Favorites
Rating:****
Tags:Haunted, England, read in 2013

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 Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue (cataylor)
    cataylor: Both books deal with a spirit trapped in the afterlife who observe the living.
  5. 20
    The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb (VictoriaPL)
  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
    A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books are about devoted sisters whose relationship turns sour with deadly results.
  9. 10
    Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon (Ciruelo)
  10. 87
    The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (Cecilturtle, krizia_lazaro)
  11. 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.
  12. 00
    Soulmates by Miranda Glover (Hollerama)
  13. 00
    Rooms by Lauren Oliver (sturlington)
    sturlington: Also a ghost story combined with family drama
  14. 00
    Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both novels feature Highgate Cemetery.
  15. 00
    Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Death, family, ghosts.
  16. 00
    Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers (Othemts)
  17. 00
    26a by Diana Evans (terran)
  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 333 mentions

English (419)  Dutch (4)  German (2)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Croatian (1)  All (428)
Showing 1-5 of 419 (next | show all)
While I didn't mind the writing style of "The Time Traveller's Wife", I believe I may be the only person I know who did not like the book. I have a healthy respect for Audrey Niffenegger and the fact that you really have to suspend disbelief when you read her books. This book I enjoyed quite a bit, but found the climax to be somewhat disappointing. However, loved learning about Highgate Cemetery in London. I look forward to checking out her illustrated "novels in pictures"... what I have seen reminds me of Edward Gorey and that can NEVER be a bad thing!!!! ( )
  Juliasb | Dec 1, 2016 |
I'm just going to dive right in. Miss Niffenegger I am truly disappointed. Of course I didn't expect this work to be the same literary delight that was The Time Traveler's Wife. But really, when did you give up on this story? The second half of the book was completely unnecessary. It's like the story snowballed so completely out of control and you didn't even try to salvage it. You just went with it. I wish you could pick emotions that books elicited from you in addition to the ratings. Confused, appalled, angry and dismayed would be just a few for me. If I could I would un-read this book. ( )
  Heather_Brock | Nov 23, 2016 |
Weird and disturbing ghost story involving two sets of twins (who are way too intertwined in each other's lives), family secrets, and a unique form of bodysnatching.

Great characters (especially Highgate Cemetery, which really comes to life) and a story that moves right along. I'm unsure about the ending, but I'm not sure how it could have ended differently. Good read. ( )
  Mrs_McGreevy | Nov 17, 2016 |
Weird. But I like weird. I actually preferred it to Time-Traveller's Wife, although I can't imagine that it has as much mainstream appeal. I will be curious to see what Niffenegger comes up with next. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
I was hooked on this book from the beginning. All the characters are quite eccentric and quirky. This was an "atmospheric" story from the beginning. (atmospheric is description a shelfari friend used). Story of loss,love,denial and acceptance. It was nicely paced and quite enjoyable throughout,but the last 100 pages had me reading past bedtime.Could not turn the pages fast enough.I could not put it down. Great Halloween read. Very imaginative. Loved it. ( )
  LauGal | Aug 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 419 (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 editionscalculated
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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