Her Fearful Symmetry

  • by Audrey Niffenegger
  • Narrated by Bianca Amato
  • 13 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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What the Critics Say

"[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

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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- Shel

This book is why ghosts moan!

The book started out as an interesting study of the relationship of twins. As my wife is a twin, I found many similarities of her life with her sister and the sisters in the book. While the relationship of the twins was spot on, based on my observations, the story line requires the reader to suspend disbelief in regard to ghosts. Everyone loves a ghost story, so not a problem. However, about halfway through the book, the reader is required to suspend disbelief and accept the ridiculous. Soon thereafter, the author spirals out of control into the realm of absurdity and stupidity. In the end, the book finishes similarly to how an elementary school student might finish a paper on the Titanic by saying "and then they all died." It's as if the author realized the minimum page number required by the publisher had been met and wanted to wrap it up in ten lines or less. The book is such a disappointment considering the work the author has demonstrated in the past. If not for the success of The Time Traveler's Wife, I doubt this book would have even been considered for publication. This book is why ghosts moan.
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- Marvin S.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-29-2009
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio