Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | November 12, 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book, but it was nowhere nearly as good as The Time Traveler’s Wife. This is a story about relationships, love, loss, identity, independence and secrets.

The main characters are Julia and Valentina, American twins who inherit a flat in London after their aunt passes away from cancer. They have never met her and there is a stipulation in her will that they must live in the flat together for a year and that their parents must not step foot in the flat. Julia & Valentina’s mother and aunt are also twins, Elspeth and Edie. Elspeth and Edie have not seen each other since Edie ran off with Elspeth’s fiance twenty years earlier. The twins also meet Robert, Elspeth’s lover who lives in the flat beneath hers and who has been given the few of her possessions that she doesn’t want the twins to have, namely, her diaries. However, he takes a long time to meet them once they have moved in. Their other neighbor in the building is Martin, a man who is severely OCD (to the point of not being able to leave his flat) and whose wife Marijke has recently left him.

Obviously, there are a lot of stories going on in this book. One big leap of reading faith that you have to take with this book, is that Elspeth comes back as a ghost. I didn’t have a problem with accepting that, it’s literary license. I think my problem is that other than the relationships themselves, there wasn’t a focused plot until half-way through the book and towards the end of the book there was a moment where I literally said “WTF?” because it just got a little too crazy for me.

I enjoy Audrey Niffenegger’s writing style and that kept me going through the book. She writes about topics in a very unconventional way and I did devour this book. I’m not sure I can completely put my finger on why it didn’t move me, but there was something just a little too ridiculous about the story. Perhaps it was just that everyone was truly lonely, even with people around them and that none of the relationships were healthy.

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