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Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel

Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel

Scris de Audrey Niffenegger

Povestit de Bianca Amato


Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel

Scris de Audrey Niffenegger

Povestit de Bianca Amato

evaluări:
3.5/5 (319 evaluări)
Lungime:
13 hours
Lansat:
Sep 29, 2009
ISBN:
9780743599313
Format:
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Descriere

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.

A Simon & Schuster audio production.

Lansat:
Sep 29, 2009
ISBN:
9780743599313
Format:
Carte audio

De asemenea, disponibil ca...

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Despre autor

Audrey Niffenegger is a visual artist and a guide at Highgate Cemetery. In addition to the bestselling novels The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, she is the author of three illustrated novels, The Three Incestuous Sisters, The Adventuress, and The Night Bookmobile, and the editor of Ghostly. She lives in Chicago.


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  • (5/5)
    Better than The Time Travelers Wife for sure. Ghosts. Ghosts!
  • (3/5)
    It was just too strange reading this after The 13th Tale. Both stories have a twin theme and a ghost. I like The 13th Tale better. Her Fearful Symmetry wasn't nearly as good as The Time Traveler's Wife - also by this author. I will say the story moved along well and was interesting, but the big surprise at the end had very little affect on the characters or the story.
  • (4/5)
    I loved this book. It has stayed with me every since I read it a few years ago. Every one in a while something from the book will flash into my memory. It's worth the read.
  • (1/5)
    I was desperate to read this as I loved The Time Traveller's Wife, but having finished it I wish I hadn't bothered.

    This story revolves around Julia and Valentina who inherit their aunt's flat in London, there is one condition their parents cannot set foot in the flat due to some big secret. The neighbours include a man with ocd whose wife has left him and the aunts boyfriend, who develops a relationship with Valentina. The aunt's ghost is also in the flat, and she figures out how to communicate with the living. Somewhere along the line Valentina decides that the only way she can truly be free of her twin sister Julia is to die and then be resurrected by her aunt. To do this they will need the help of the aunts boyfriend and one of his friends who happens to be an undertaker, for some reason both of them agree to help. To cut along story short the aunt kills Valentina, at her request but then instead of resurrecting her takes the body for herself and goes back to be with her boyfriend. During all this the big secret is revealed and it is not that interesting, one twin pretends to be the other one and things don't work out the way they planned.

    The characters are annoying, none of them have any redeeming features in fact the only thing that stopped me from throwing this across the room was the fact that it was on my ereader.
  • (2/5)
    Not even close to in the same league as The Time-Traveler's Wife. Predictable, thin on plot and characterization, and downright boring in some parts (mostly related to the descriptions of the people buried in the cemetery).
  • (4/5)
    Though not as perfect as TTW, this is a fun, gothic read. Characters are wonderfully developed, settings are vividly brought to life. The story is somewhat obvious, but that does not make it any less pleasurable to read. Due to the London setting, this is a perfect time of year to read this book, as it is presently gray, gloomy and damp here! Shari, you will have to use your imagination as it is too hot in Florida now! LOL.
  • (2/5)
    Interesting read, not the kind of book I usually choose, enjoyable if slightly weird. This is the first book by Audrey Niffenegger that I have read, would I read another of hers, probably not. Her best seller "The Time Traveller's Wife" does not appeal.
  • (3/5)
    This is my first time reading Audrey Niffenegger and Her Fearful Symmetry has several of the elements I love in a novel: twins (not just one set but two generations of twins), a cemetery and a ghost.Set in London, this is a slow burn that begins when Elspeth Noblin leaves her flat overlooking Highgate Cemetery to her twin nieces after her death. Elspeth and her own twin sister are estranged, so the bequeathment comes as quite a shock to the family. The twin girls must live in the flat for a year before they can sell it and the inheritance begins to transform Julia and Valentina in small and subtle ways.I loved the character of Robert, primarily because it was through him that the reader is treated to so much history of the Highgate Cemetery. Robert volunteers at the cemetery and takes tourists on guided tours throughout the grounds and these were by far my favourite elements of the book.I found the final denouement and the choices made by two of the characters to be such a disappointment that I became quite dissatisfied with the ending. Sometimes a disappointing ending can be provocative and exciting, but I was left feeling angry at two of the characters and wanted to slap one of them, so it cost the novel a star in this review.
  • (3/5)
    It wasn't until August that I picked this tale up (after it sat on my nightstand for a year), and then read it in a couple of days. I liked the characterizations (especially Martin, the obsessive compulsive upstairs neighbor), and even bought the beginning of the ghost story, to an extent. But the plotting in the last third of the book strains credulity, to put it mildly. That Valentina would concoct a suicidal plan to escape her needy twin so that she can build a successful career is oxymoronic (heavy emphasis on the moron part). And it gets worse from there. I prefer my doses of the supernatural to be suasible.
  • (4/5)
    I was fascinated by any immensely enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife. Based on how good that book was I was worried this book could not be as good. I did end up enjoying Her Fearful Symmetry. I kept wondering where the plot would end up and that kept me reading, even through the parts that seemed to have no relevance to the story. I finally figured out these seemingly small and insignificant scenes rounded out the dysfunctional lives of the characters. I am not sure if I liked the resolution of the story but it was a logical conclusion to the fanciful story line.
  • (2/5)
    Elspeth and Edie are twins but live totally apart after something in the past. When Elspeth dies she leaves everything to Edie's twin daughters Valentina and Julia who she never met. They come over from America to London where they get involved with Robert who was Elspeth's boyfriend and Martin who never leaves his flat as he suffers form OCD which controls every aspect of his life. The flat overlooks Highgate cemetery where Robert works as a guide while writing his thesis.Having enjoyed Time Traveler's Wife I had high hopes for this book but sadly it didn't live up to expectations. I can't say too much without giving the plot away but it is so far-fetched at times it's hard to believe it's by the same author!As time went on the characters become ever more ridiculous in their actions until the end which is just taking the reader for granted.The sex scenes were totally unnecessary and add nothing to the story, in fact they just make the story even more tacky. Why do authors do this?The only saving grace is the story of the cemetery which was informative and written well.If this were the first book I'd read by the author it would have put me off her totally.
  • (3/5)
    Well parts of this are weird and random. The twists do not help the story at all.
  • (3/5)
    Felt like reading an Edward Gorey illustration. Very enjoyable, but the last fifty pages went kind of pear-shaped.
  • (4/5)
    Awesome read...
  • (4/5)
    London based/Highgate. Characters are unique, amazing descriptions. Spooky
  • (3/5)
    This was one of those difficult-to-rate books where the characters were irritating and the plot twists were predictable but I nevertheless found myself reading the entire thing in one sitting even though that meant staying up two hours past my regular bedtime on a work night. In those situations, I give credit to the writing. It was more gothic than I expected, which helped give it substance. I really couldn't tell whether I was supposed to like the twins or not, nor whether they were supposed to be insane rather than simply immature. When reading about younger characters (and there are more and more of them) I am careful to recall myself at that age before passing too much judgment, but these two were creepy as often as they were obnoxious. I'm sure I wasn't the only reader to keep thinking of The Shining. And even a little bit of V.C. Andrews, which no book should ever do.Among the supporting cast, some started out annoying and became likable while others went the reverse. The OCD subplot was handled better than anticipated; I tend to hate those gimmicks. Still not entirely sure where one of the characters went, or what they did, at the very end.I've never read The Time Traveler's Wife, so comparisons weren't an issue. I received this as an advance reader copy from the publisher but the managed to replace it. Bought a real one for our library regardless. Demand was inevitable.
  • (3/5)
    I quit enjoyed this booked. Preferred th plot pre-ghost but all in all quite diverting.
  • (3/5)
    This was a perplexing book - one of those I read and keeping wanting it to be something it isn't quite... It had some elements I really liked but there was a coldness to it that I found in great contrast to A Time Traveller's Wife. However, it was satisfying to puzzle over why I wasn't liking it as much as I wanted to.

    On the plus side: the twins premise is creatively interesting. On the negative: I wanted the emotional connection between the twins to be more subtly drawn. Somehow the claustrophobia that drives Valentina to try and escape didn't come through strongly enough. And Julia's own despair felt pedestrian rather than as visceral as it should have.

    The Little Kitten of Death was both creepy and charming as an element - a definite plus. However, I was less comfortable with the creepiness of two older men hitting on younger versions of their absent spouses. This was played 'straight' for too much of the book, to my mind - the horror of Robert's actions in particular didn't come through. I think this book didn't know if it wanted to be horror or love story, and so ended up just in between squeamish.

    The character of Elspeth was particularly perplexing - a jumble of girlish naivety, jealousy and deliberate manipulation. There was a lot of selfishness in this story, and at times it was just a little too simplistic. Yes, humans ARE grasping and selfish, but they're usually conflicted too - but there was an insincerity to any expressions of conflictedness by these characters that left me feeling alienated from them.
  • (2/5)
    As an author, it must be a dreadful pressure trying to write the book which follows such a popular, much loved and well-reviewed book like [The Time Traveller's Wife]. I remember hearing [[Audrey Niffenegger]] got a massive advance for [Her Fearful Symmetry]. Sadly, I did not enjoy HFS at all - it was all so un-anchored, the characters thin, for a very light book it was misery all round except for a very brief smile from Valentina midway, the setup was unbelievable and whilst some of the threads were tied up, others were left dangling. Just a very unsatisfying read. I did wonder if I didn't have expectations set up from her previous book whether I would have felt differently, but I think it's unlikely I would have even HFS if it wasn't for TTTW. Having said that, I'm crossing my fingers that [[Audrey Niffenegger]] can writes another fab book, with the imagination and warmth of TTTW.
  • (2/5)
    Twins (mirror and identical), an obsessive-compulsive and some just plain shy people trying very hard to connect and/or disconnect. Then, throw in a ghost that's just learning the ropes of haunting. After that, it all becomes rather muddled and whacked out. From the free box (thankfully) and back into it.
  • (4/5)
    The next book by the author of The Time Traveler's Wife, it is magical, and haunting. I couldn't stop thinking about it for days after I completed it. Very much worth the read.
  • (5/5)
    Oh what a wonderful book! I can't believe I initially discounted it as 'not my sort of thing'. If I hadn't heard the author read from it at the Edinburgh BookFest this year (she read the opening of the chapter entitled 'The History Of Her Ghost') I might never have picked it up.

    This is a romance cum ghost story which, I have to admit, is not a promising start for me. It starts with the death of Elspeth and from there we are introduced to her lover: Robert, her twin: Edie, twin nieces: Julia & Valentina, quirky neighbours and, most importantly, Highgate Cemetery and it's 'friends'. Elspeth leaves her flat to the girls on the condition that their parents never step foot in it. They take up residence a year later, but so does Elspeth! As her abilities as a ghost grow, so does the way she interacts with her surroundings and with the people she loved.

    Loved the descriptions of Highgate, loved the OCD neighbour, in fact loved all the characterisations if not the actual characters.... particularly loved the 'little kitten of death'! Obviously you have to suspend belief in a ghost story, so didn't see all the twists coming but it kept me interested throughout and was quite a page turner towards the end, waiting to see how it would all pull together.

    Finally, the blurb on the back says:

    'When Elspeth Noblin dies she leaves her beautiful flat overlooking Highgate Cemetery to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina Poole, on the condition that their mother is never allowed to cross the threshhold. But until the solicitors' letter falls through the door of their suburban American home, neither Julia nor Valentina knew their aunt existed. The twins feel that in London their own lives can finally begin but have no idea that they have been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive-compulsive crossword setter who lives above them to their aunt's mysterious and elusive lover, who lives below them and works in the cemetery itself.

    As the twins unravel the secrets of their aunt, who doesn't seem quite ready to leave her flat, even after death, Niffenegger weaves a delicious and deadly ghost story about love, loss and identity.'
  • (4/5)
    After giving myself a day or two's distance from this, I can give it a four. I loved her writing, as haphazard and slapdash as it was, moving here and there, inside of one person's head and immediately into another's. She sort of wrote like an artist, painting with words, flitting all over the place emotionally. It is one of those books that will stick with me, and because of that I feel like it is worth reading. But it was also strange, and often dark. I didn't like the suggestion that people who die are stuck, unable to move on. It was a very hopeless view of death. But she certainly pulled me into her world, and I like it when a book can do that. Very different than Time Traveler's Wife, but I can see similar themes.
  • (4/5)
    I was drawn to this book by its creepy cover, and by the setting in Highgate Cemetery, which was one of my favorite parts of London. The book was very interesting, engaging, and I was attached to the characters, but I did feel a little let down by the "twist" and the ending. I saw most of it coming, and wished there could have been a little more suspense and resolution. But all in all, I really enjoyed it. A fast, fun read.
  • (3/5)
    I don't know quite how, exactly, to describe this book. I really enjoyed it--I'd pick it up and find myself unable to put it down for hours. The characters are so interesting, and fairly complex, but for much of the book not much is really *happening.* And yet, I didn't mind. It was so fascinating to follow the psychological and emotional events that the quiet plot wasn't at all boring. And then, once in a while, something fairly shocking would happen!

    I found myself describing the book to my husband as "Odd. But in a good way." Having finished it, I believe that still applies. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
  • (4/5)
    Really fascinating read. My interest in the writing grew slowly over the book.
  • (4/5)
    Really fascinating read. My interest in the writing grew slowly over the book.
  • (3/5)
    This is a ghost story, but not a good one. I couldn't really connect with the characters. I finished it hoping it would improve, but it didn't. If you enjoy the first 50 pages you will enjoy the rest, but I didn't enjoy it. Not up to the standard of the Time Traveller's Wife (TTW is one of my favorite books).
  • (3/5)
    Starts as a good story that takes a twist I couldn't quite get on board with at the end. I loved the pacing and plotting of the novel, but the author lost me at the end. Still work a read, but make sure you have someone who you can discuss it with!
  • (3/5)
    This book left me mentally exhausted. I loved the concept and enjoyed the overall plot, but I din't enjoy the characters. I didn't forma particular attachment to any of them and found myself just wanting to get through to discover how Niffenegger tied everything up in the end. I would recommend this to other writers, as it is an inspiring concept, but not for reading for pleasure.