Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunday Sensation #2

Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger

Goodreads Synopsis
Six years after the phenomenal success of The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger has returned with a spectacularly compelling and haunting second novel set in and around Highgate Cemetery in London.

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.

Niffenegger weaves a captivating story in Her Fearful Symmetry about love and identity, about secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life--even after death

This book was incredible, I was instantly captivated. To say this book was shocking is a tiny comparision to how shocked you will be when you read it! Based on the idea of life after death we meet Espeth who desperately wants to be back with her lover Robert and uses her 'neices' to try and get what she wants and in the process may destroy their lives as they know them.

Niffenegger does use a lot of description in this novel, but I have to say it is all worth it for the twists and turns that the novel takes you on. I have to say I did struggle to like most of the characters. Robert was the most likable because he seems so innocent, which most of the time he is. Valentina is the nicer of the twins with her more naive nature. Espeth is the protagonist in the novel even though she finds herself a ghostly figure, as we find ourselves liking her as the novel progresses when the novel ends I detested her perhaps more than I've ever detested a character before!

Overall this book was five stars for me, in spite of those lengthy descriptions and the hateful characters the storyline suceeds to entice your mind and leave you stunned so you can't even consider reading another book for twenty four hours.


  1. This has been on my TBR list for awhile! I need to get reading it!

  2. I really liked this book as I was reading it (even though it's something I wouldn't usually read, the cover and writing appealed to me) but similarly to you, by the ending of the book I absolutely HATED Espeth. She was so selfish and horrible and just thinking about her makes me angry! I felt like the ending spoiled this book a bit for me; while it was certainly a very powerful book that I will definitely remember, it left me feeling kind of incomplete. One thing is for sure; Espeth is definitely very detestable!