Ab's Reviews > Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
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Oct 06, 09

bookshelves: hints-of-magic
Read in October, 2009

An all around fascinating tale of mysterious, ghostly presences, complicated twin relationships of two generations, and ultimate deception. I really liked how Niffenegger wrote, she's very good with words and descriptions and weaving together a seamless story. My gripe is with the ending...not a fan. So that was a bit of a let down for me. My favorite descriptions are below:

"...there was something about being in the drawer that she liked. Being compressed into two cubic feet gave her a solidity that she quickly became addicted to. She didn't have separate body parts yet, but when she crowded into the drawer Elspeth felt sensation akin to tough: feelings that might be skin against hair, tongue against teeth. She began to stay in the drawer for long periods, to sleep, to think, to calm herself. It's like going back to the womb, she thought, happy to be contained."
p.65

"The sun abruptly came out again and the cemetery changed from deep shade and grey to dappled yellow and pale green. The gravestones turned white and seemed to be edged with silver; they hovered, tooth-like amid the ivy." p.89 -- a gorgeous, descriptive image!

"There are several ways to react to being lost. One is to panic ... Another is to abandon yourself to the lostness, to allow the fact that you've misplaced yourself to change the way you experience the world."
p. 264

Perhaps I'll give The Time Traveler's Wife a try. Hmm.

*Just saw this:
"Her Fearful Symmetry broadsheets
• Very rare print, perfect for framing
• Has an illustration by Audrey Niffenegger and a passage from the book
• Only 250 of these exist" --> I totally have one right on my computer desk at home! It's gorgeous, and this little bit is exciting : )
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Quotes Ab Liked

Audrey Niffenegger
“I’m curious about things that people aren’t supposed to see—so, for example, I liked going to the British Museum, but I would like it better if I could go into all the offices and storage rooms, I want to look in all the drawers and—discover stuff. And I want to know about people. I mean, I know it’s probably kind of rude but I want to know why you have all these boxes and what’s in them and why all your windows are papered over and how long it’s been that way and how do you feel when you wash things and why don’t you do something about it?”
Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry

Audrey Niffenegger
“There are several ways to react to being lost. One is to panic: this was usually Valentina's first impulse. Another is to abandon yourself to lostness, to allow the fact that you've misplaced yourself to change the way you experience the world.”
Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry

Audrey Niffenegger
“There was only the cemetery itself, spread out in the moonlight like a soft grey hallucination, a stony wilderness of Victorian melancholy.”
Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry

Audrey Niffenegger
“We're squirrels in human form, she whispered. And so are you.”
Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry

Audrey Niffenegger
“Everything is still out there: the rooftops and chimneys, the graffiti, the office towers and the cyclists; soon there will be sheep and that immense sky the keep out in the countryside... Once I thought there were two realities, inner and outer, but perhaps that's a bit meagre; I'm not quite the same person I was last night...”
Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry

Audrey Niffenegger
“That’s the thing about living vicariously; it’s so much faster than actual living.”
Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry

Audrey Niffenegger
“Being in love is…anxious,” he said. “Wanting to please, worrying that she will see me as I really am. But wanting to be known. That is…you’re naked, moaning in the dark, no dignity at all…I wanted her to see me and to love me even though she knew everything I am, and I knew her”
Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry

Audrey Niffenegger
“I fell asleep. But later that night I woke up. There was moonlight coming through the window, and shadows of tree branches fell onto the bed, waving gently in the breeze."
"And then you saw the ghost?"
James laughed. "Dear chap, the branches WERE the ghost. There weren't any trees within a hundred yards of that house. They'd all been cut down years before. I saw the ghost of a tree.”
Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry
tags: ghosts

Audrey Niffenegger
“That is what madness is, isn't it? All the wheels fly off the bus and things don't make sense any more. Or rather, they do, but it's not a kind of sense anyone else can understand.”
Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry

Audrey Niffenegger
“Sometimes a thing is---too much---and it has to be isolated put away.”
Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry


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