Dante's Reviews > Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
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's review
Apr 27, 2012

liked it
Recommended to Dante by: Susanna Craib-Cox
Recommended for: Completists who absolutely HAVE to read everything a particular author has written
Read from April 15 to 26, 2012 , read count: 1

A few observations on Her Fearful Symmetry:

* Unlike The Time Traveller's Wife, I can't imagine myself ever reading Her Fearful Symmetry again. It's OK, not great, and certainly suffers in comparison to TTW. I suspect the reviews might've been a bit more forgiving if she'd published it under a pseudonym, as the expectations set by TTW were very (and probably unreasonably) high.

* The main characters are almost all unlikeable in varying degrees, Elspeth being the worst, probably by design. However, this book is most accurately classified as modern gothic fiction/horror and should be read as such, which makes Niffenegger's character design somewhat more understandable. I did like Martin, James, and Jessica, though, as did many other readers.

* SPOILER ALERT: I've skimmed some other GoodReads reviews and have noticed that some people think Elspeth had schemed from the beginning to lure the twins to London in order to steal one of their bodies. The flaw with that theory is that Elspeth had no idea she was going to end up as a ghost in her own flat after she died -- at least there's nothing in the text to support her having any such belief prior to her death -- so attributing some of the clunkier aspects of the narrative to this notion -- and supporting it by saying that Niffeneger is employing the "unreliable narrator" device -- just isn't plausible.

* Besides, I don't think we're dealing with an "unreliable narrator" here -- I just think the plotting and character development are poorly-executed in this book and stretch the limits of credulity -- yes, even for a story about the supernatural!

* Elspeth died in a hospital and eventually ended up in her flat, so is it safe to assume that Valentina's ghost would have ended up in Lake Forest, IL, had Elspeth not been there to capture her?

In short, this isn't the worst book in the world, but it's far from the best, too: three stars out of five is just about right. I don't think the overall story is unredeemable, and if they end up making a movie out of this I hope the screenwriter(s) are able to fix some glaring problems in the character development and plotting.

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Reading Progress

04/16/2012 page 13
04/23/2012 page 170
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