Gloriously Symmetrical

January 18, 2010 at 12:32 am (Reviews, The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

As beautiful as The Time Traveler’s Wife is, Audrey Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry is awful.  Every moment, every line is filled with mystery, sadness, and the terrible selfishness of humanity.  I loved it.

People have described this second novel as disappointing.  I feel as though it was done on purpose.  I cried on page one, knowing that the rest of the book could not be even remotely as beautiful or as happy; and by the end I had been disappointed by every character so often, I merely settled into a sigh of understanding.  Of course it ends this way, of course.  The novel was gloriously backwards, in comparison to Niffenegger’s first book, just as Valentina is a backward version of Julia.

If you read it, I think you’ll understand my meaning.

Buy Her Fearful Symmetry

If you liked it, I also recommend:

The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold (although The Lovely Bones is not nearly as fascinating, the writing is most excellent)

The Mercy of Thin Air – Domingue (equally calm and spooky, but add a southern American drawl)

Swan – Frances Mayes (for the characters and her always amazing prose, also set in the American south)


  1. anakalianwhims said,

  2. toddhurley said,

    I like your thoughts! Thanks for dropping by mine.

    I agree, it IS awful…beautifully awful. The fact that all of the characters disappoint you is one of the great things about the book.

    PS – I like your reviews.

    The Hurley Edition

  3. Sandi Van Winkle said,

    Thanks for the tweet reply! Our little book club discussion also brought up the same observations. We loved it, we hated the characters, we formed juxtapositions with the characters and their relationships. It was a great book and a makes for a great discussion on the human condition and relationships. Thanks.

  4. uberVU - social comments said,

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by AnakaliaKlemm: A Review of Niffenegger’s Second Book:

  5. Rachel said,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! 🙂 I really love your take on this book.. A very lovely way to look at it. You can add my twitter by clicking on the link at the side of my page.. or, email me your twitter info and I will add you!

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