Stephanie's Reviews > Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
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Jun 01, 11

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Don't go into this book thinking it's anything like her amazing first novel. It's not. Well, except in the ways that it is -- the precision of characters is there, and the fantastic elements (just replace time-traveling syndrome with ghosthood), and the gorgeous writing. I loved this book, too, nearly as much as The Time-Traveler's Wife, but in a completely different way.

Mainly, the tone of this novel is incredibly different from TTW; this book deals more with the destructive powers of love and the loneliness of death. (Though, too, TTW also deals with destructive love in some ways, and Claire's loneliness caused by Henry's disease.) Regardless, it wasn't surprising to me when I saw so many one- and two-star reviews here. This book doesn't just focus on the relationship between two people inextricably bound together (although that type of relationship is included in the twins Julia and Valentina). It covers the entire building's residents, about six people. And this book deals with the afterlife and what it could mean to be a ghost in an entirely interesting and compelling way. I found that aspect just fascinating.

The only part that seemed perhaps a bit out of place was the Highgate Cemetery aspect. It felt a bit forced into the story. However, it didn't really disrupt my interest all that much.

Although it's not Time-Traveler's Wife Redux, or anything like that, taken on its own, this is a great book from a great storyteller (from whom I would love to see many more novels).
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