Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

18 11 2009

Identical twins freak me the eff out. I'm glad they don't air those Doublemint commercials anymore.

Okay, I’m going to write this pretending that you haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife and don’t already know how amazing Audrey Niffenegger is.  Because you have and you do, right?  And if the answer to that question is “no” what in blazes is your problem?  Why do you hate good things?  What is your aversion to a perfectly told beautiful story with an interesting premise?  This is why we can’t have anything nice.  Quit being a jerkass and go and read that book RIGHT NOW.

So, now that we’re all on the same page (pun INTENDED), Her Fearful Symmetry is just effing fantastic.  Not quite as perfect as The Time Traveler’s Wife, but pretty damn close.  Niffenegger takes some inherently creepy things – identical twins [shudder], ghosts, cemeteries, mental disorders – and twists them into something beautiful and morbid and vaguely terrifying.  You know how video of an accident can take on a sort of grace and beauty when shot in slow motion?  And you know it is going to end horribly but you’re fascinated and can’t stop watching, and you want to warn everyone involved but know that there isn’t a thing you can do to change the outcome?  And then the accident is complete and there’s that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realize that part of you enjoyed the carnage and that you’re almost proud of yourself for not turning away?  That’s this book.

Her Fearful Symmetry is essentially about all the ways love can really really fuck you up and, occasionally, redeem you.  It is about life and death and all the ways they overlap.  It is about forgiveness and finding the breaking point in a relationship.  And it is about obsession.  It’s a Gothic suspense novel set in London’s Highgate cemetery, and while the reveals are somewhat predictable, the dread of knowing what’s coming and hoping you’re wrong keeps the story from going flat.  Niffenegger’s writing is wonderful, the woman knows how to craft a friggin sentence, how to set a mood, hot to give the reader character insight with a simple phrase, how to pace a plot to keep you enthralled until the last page.  She’s so talented I almost hate her.  With her first book she gave us a perfect love story, now she’s given us the perfect love gone wrong story.

I offer the reminder of this movie as my apology for that first picture. You're welcome.

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One response

24 11 2009
Rex

Just saw Time Travelers Wife…I don’t reed reel guud, so I just see the movies sometimes! Great movie and my gal (Izzie) really, REALLY enjoyed it as much as the chinese food we had before hand. I bet the book is fantastical….

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