Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Most Anticipated Book of the Fall! Audrey Niffenegger's "Her Fearful Symmetry"

So I'll be the first to admit that I was very late coming to the Audrey Niffenegger fandom. I was probably the last woman in America to read "The Time Traveler's Wife" (I only read it this summer after I stole a copy off of a friend's bookshelf!) but I still LOVED it. So how excited was I when the buzz started circulating about Niffenegger's new book. And how ecstatic was I when a review copy showed up on my doorstep. I think there was much squealing and jumping around here at the Ratskellar.

So did it live up to my expectations, and will it survive all of the hype. I think yes and yes. This is an excellent sophomore effort and I just can't wait to see what Ms. Niffenegger gives us next!

Audrey Niffengger's second novel "Her Fearful Symmetry" focuses on the Noblin family and it's two sets of twins--a mother and aunt to two teenage sisters--and the terrible secret that ties them all together. When the two teenagers are left an apartment in London by an aunt they've never met, the girls believe the apartment is their chance to escape their mundane life in the suburbs of Chicago. But soon after moving to London, the girls realize there is something not right with their apartment. With the help of their reclusive neighbors, the girls discover the building's secret and ultimately must make decisions about their own lives based on what they discover.

I loved this second effort from Niffengger, author of the bestselling "Time Traveler's Wife". The book is genuinely creepy as a ghost story, and Niffengger does a great job of weaving the different elements of the novel together to create a creepiness throughout the narrative. There are enough twists in the plot to keep you guessing, and Niffengger's obvious talent as a novelist is once again on display. Niffengger spends a great deal of time sketching each of her characters for the reader, so this book really has the feel of an ensemble piece rather than a novel with just a few central characters.

Some of the elements that worked so well in "Time Traveler's Wife" are back again, including Niffengger's use of fantastic/scifi elements to add a unique dimension to her work. Niffengger's strong narrative voice is also back, and it does a good job of pulling the reader right into this story.

I think if you enjoyed "Time Traveler's Wife" you will also enjoy this novel. Be warned that it's very different from "Time Traveler" but in a good way--you don't really want to read the same story twice!

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