Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (adult book)
Adult readers, take heart. It’s not always books for children here at Hooray For Books! My pick of the day today is the newest novel by Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife. The two books aren’t related, except in that they are both a meditation on enduring love. Her Fearful Symmetry is a modern gothic tale filled with eccentric characters — two sets of dress-alike twin sisters and an agoraphobic crossword-puzzle-maker, for starters — and set next to a cemetery. The story unfolds as Julia and Valentina move into their deceased Aunt Elspeth’s flat (their mother is Elspeth’s twin Edie). The move from Chicago to London begins to drive a wedge between the twins, which only deepens as they communicate with the dead, take on inappropriate suitors, and plan their futures . The story is slow-going as the plot unfurls, but the pace picks up considerably towards the end. The dominant feeling of the novel is a restrained sense of foreboding, even throughout daily life, but Niffenegger also includes wonderful moments of humor, horror, poignancy, and hope. I enjoyed this book, and found the novel very well-constructed. It’s a delightfully creepy read and perfect for Halloween!
Time Magazine (overview)
The Guardian (long)
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, 2009, Scribner, $26.99