Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Posted: November 30, 2009 in Reviews
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Summary from Goodreads:

When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt, only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers–with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.

The girls move to Elspeth’s flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building’s other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin’s devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth’s elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt’s neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including–perhaps–their aunt, who can’t seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

My Views:

I have given it 5 stars rating , but did I absolutely love this book? Let me put it this way , I was sucked into the story from page 1 line 1 , read it all night till wee hours of morning , got scared at a few places , was surprised at few twists , shocked and frustrated as it drew to close and when I finally turned the last page I was mentally exhausted. If a book can do all this to you , I think it would be worth 5 stars don’t you think so?

I think William Styron said “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”  If I take this quote into consideration I think it is  a great book.But this is all subjective.

Getting on with the review :
Audrey Niffenegger’s latest book has a scary theme but a very interesting one. My favorite character from the book would be Obsessive Compulsive Martin. His neurosis gets on to the readers nerves but you will remember him even after the book has ended.

Julia and Valentina , Elspeth’s nieces who inherit her property after Elspeth’s death are so similar to each other in appearance as different are their personalities. I sometimes wonder if authors create this fierce twin and shy twin characters just to pique the interest in readers but this factor always does a lot to the story line.In this story the factor is multiplied two times with two sets of identical twins.

I was shocked literally shocked at the way everything turned out in the end and was so frustrated at some characters that I thought I must have understood the lines wrong while reading sleepless all night , so I even went back few pages to confirm as to what I had read but that’s the way it was. It is a book that will make you sit up and take notice.

When reading this don’t expect another Time Traveller’s wife. It is a very well written book with no hang overs from the author’s earlier work . A word of caution though; you won’t stop reading once you have begun , you might love it or criticise it or hate it  but you will want to finish it in one go 🙂 Trust me I did .

Highly recommended.

My Rating : 5 out of 5

  1. Interesting, I could not stop reading another book just yesterday – Nicolas Ammanitti’s “I Am Not Scared,” so I understand what you are saying about not being able to stop once you begin reading! Haven’t read this by Niffenegger – but will mark this one up.

  2. Nishita says:

    I have been wanting to read this so BAD. Your review is also adding to my interest.

    Sounds totally terrific, and just my kind of novel 🙂

    Thanks for the review!

  3. Veens says:

    I have not read any book by this author! Your review is as usual tempting me a lot. I need to get to both these books 🙂