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Publisher's Summary

When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt; they only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers - with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another. The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building's other residents, including Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword-puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery.
As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including - perhaps - their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.
Niffenegger weaves a captivating story in Her Fearful Symmetry about love and identity, about secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life - even after death.
©2009 Audrey Niffenegger (P)2009 Simon & Schuster
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Critic Reviews

"[S]he has a knack for taking the romantic into the realm of creepiness, and she constructs a taut mystery around the secrets to be found in Elspeth's diaries and the lengths to which she will go to reunite with her younger lover. It's no small achievement that the revelations are both organic and completely unexpected." ( The New Yorker)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Shel on 10-28-09

What a waste

It would be nice to rate the first 2/3 of the book and the last 1/3 separately. Four and a half stars and then one star. It felt kind of like fourth grade...you work really hard on a story, it is going well, then you get tired of doing it and go for a bizarre ending to get out of having to think anymore. Kind of like, "and then the aliens landed and all the pilgrims were eaten by carnivorous plants." If this book were discussed in a Thursday Next (Jasper Fforde) novel, they would probably say that the author had bought a cheap and ridiculous plot device to get out of finishing it. What a waste of interesting characters and complex issues. Could have been great.

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23 of 24 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By mendolynne on 08-15-10

her fearful science

Audrey Niffenegger is a fine writer with a fascinating plot, but inconsistent pace. The story dragged in places but anxious to find out how she would weave the ending I never thought of putting it away. The narrator, Bianca Amato, was excellent. While I'm always intrigued to read authors views on the afterlife, Niffenegger's science was preposterous and at times totally annoying. But, if you can overlook this, this book is an eerie, but gripping tale.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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