Customer Reviews for

Her Fearful Symmetry (DO NOT ORDER - Canadian Edition)

Average Rating 3.5
( 825 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(176)

4 Star

(231)

3 Star

(220)

2 Star

(112)

1 Star

(86)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

A Great Ghost Story!

A pair of twin girls find themselves coming of age in a unique way. Their aunt, the twin sister to the girls' mother, has died and left her flat to the twin girls. The aunt has stipulations however. The girls' mother and father are not allowed to set foot in the apar...
A pair of twin girls find themselves coming of age in a unique way. Their aunt, the twin sister to the girls' mother, has died and left her flat to the twin girls. The aunt has stipulations however. The girls' mother and father are not allowed to set foot in the apartment for the year they are required to live there in order to inherit her estate. Their mother refuses to divulge the deep, dark secret that has kept her and her sister apart for the years since the twins were very young. After the girls move into the flat, Valentina, the more sensitive of the two, begins to believe the place is haunted. And of course, it is, by the ghost of their aunt who is trapped in the apartment and tries to find ways to communicate with the girls. This story also follows the struggles the twins themselves have as one tries to pull away from her sister to live her own life, and the other who desperately hopes that doesn't happen because they had vowed always to be together. This is a ghost story and mystery wrapped up together, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story was sometimes predictable, but there were surprises too. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes a good ghost story. You'll like the characters, and you'll find yourself pulling for the twin who wants to be more independent while understanding why the other one doesn't want it to be that way. And you'll enjoy the path to the end where things might not turn out exactly as you thought they would. Or maybe they will and you'll find yourself enjoying the ride anyway.

posted by LindaSanTan on October 21, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

23 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

Selfish and annoying characters, don't waste your time.

I could have perhaps enjoyed this book, though the plot was not the most original. The characters ruined it for me though. There was not a single character in this book that I found likeable. Julia and Valentina annoyed me to no end, always dressing alike, sleeping toge...
I could have perhaps enjoyed this book, though the plot was not the most original. The characters ruined it for me though. There was not a single character in this book that I found likeable. Julia and Valentina annoyed me to no end, always dressing alike, sleeping together, feeling that any career one of them chooses must involve the other... They are so co-dependent. And then when Valentina finally decides that she is going to "leave" Julia, she can't wait six months and move out? She has to do something so drastic that causes so many people pain? It didn't make any sense and I felt like she sort of deserved what she got in the end. And the same goes for Julia.

Elspeth obviously was probably the most self-serving character in the book, based on her actions at the end. I liked Robert well enough, even if he wasn't overly interesting, until the very end, when he proved to be just as selfish as the rest of them.

The twins' relationships with much older men was also completely creepy.

I have read books before where I didn't like the characters but still enjoyed the book, because the characters were meant to be disliked (i.e. "Wideacre" by Phillipa Gregory). However, I think the author of "Her Fearful Symmetry" meant for the characters to be likeable, and they weren't. At all.

I give the book 2 stars because the writing was decent, and I enjoyed the atmospheric descriptions of the cemetary. But I really can't recommend the book as a whole. The conceptualization of life-after-death was also sort of interesting and unique, so that was nice. But the few positive things about the book don't make up for the awful characters. I wanted to strangle every single one of them at some point or another. They make horrible decisions that are based solely on their own wants and needs with no regard for the well-being of the other people they supposedly love. Again, that's fine if your characters are meant to be an anti-heroes or -heroines, but not fine in a book where you want your readers to like and sympathize with them.

Skip this one.

posted by BoysGirl1985 on November 8, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 827 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 42
  • Posted November 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Selfish and annoying characters, don't waste your time.

    I could have perhaps enjoyed this book, though the plot was not the most original. The characters ruined it for me though. There was not a single character in this book that I found likeable. Julia and Valentina annoyed me to no end, always dressing alike, sleeping together, feeling that any career one of them chooses must involve the other... They are so co-dependent. And then when Valentina finally decides that she is going to "leave" Julia, she can't wait six months and move out? She has to do something so drastic that causes so many people pain? It didn't make any sense and I felt like she sort of deserved what she got in the end. And the same goes for Julia.

    Elspeth obviously was probably the most self-serving character in the book, based on her actions at the end. I liked Robert well enough, even if he wasn't overly interesting, until the very end, when he proved to be just as selfish as the rest of them.

    The twins' relationships with much older men was also completely creepy.

    I have read books before where I didn't like the characters but still enjoyed the book, because the characters were meant to be disliked (i.e. "Wideacre" by Phillipa Gregory). However, I think the author of "Her Fearful Symmetry" meant for the characters to be likeable, and they weren't. At all.

    I give the book 2 stars because the writing was decent, and I enjoyed the atmospheric descriptions of the cemetary. But I really can't recommend the book as a whole. The conceptualization of life-after-death was also sort of interesting and unique, so that was nice. But the few positive things about the book don't make up for the awful characters. I wanted to strangle every single one of them at some point or another. They make horrible decisions that are based solely on their own wants and needs with no regard for the well-being of the other people they supposedly love. Again, that's fine if your characters are meant to be an anti-heroes or -heroines, but not fine in a book where you want your readers to like and sympathize with them.

    Skip this one.

    23 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Great Ghost Story!

    A pair of twin girls find themselves coming of age in a unique way. Their aunt, the twin sister to the girls' mother, has died and left her flat to the twin girls. The aunt has stipulations however. The girls' mother and father are not allowed to set foot in the apartment for the year they are required to live there in order to inherit her estate. Their mother refuses to divulge the deep, dark secret that has kept her and her sister apart for the years since the twins were very young. After the girls move into the flat, Valentina, the more sensitive of the two, begins to believe the place is haunted. And of course, it is, by the ghost of their aunt who is trapped in the apartment and tries to find ways to communicate with the girls. This story also follows the struggles the twins themselves have as one tries to pull away from her sister to live her own life, and the other who desperately hopes that doesn't happen because they had vowed always to be together. This is a ghost story and mystery wrapped up together, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story was sometimes predictable, but there were surprises too. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes a good ghost story. You'll like the characters, and you'll find yourself pulling for the twin who wants to be more independent while understanding why the other one doesn't want it to be that way. And you'll enjoy the path to the end where things might not turn out exactly as you thought they would. Or maybe they will and you'll find yourself enjoying the ride anyway.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Intricate and Compelling

    Considering the critical and commercial success of "The Time Traveler's Wife", Niffenegger's second novel has a lot to live up to. Within its elegantly written pages are familiar themes: dysfunctional families with terrible secrets, love overcoming great obstacles, and life after death. As you may expect, the author takes these conventions and breathes new life into them. "Her Fearful Symmetry" is dark, labyrinthine, beautiful, and unexpected. The story will leave you thinking about it long after you are done reading. And isn't that what every great novel should do?

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Took My Breath Away

    From the first page, I was drawn into Audrey Niffenegger's new novel and could not put it down.

    Not a character in the traditional sense, but the building where the twins live in London is adjacent to the famous Highgate Cemetery which takes on a life of its own. Ironically, the cemetery is not where the spookiest events occur. Instead, it becomes a sanctuary of sorts, or a canvas upon which to tell this ghost story.

    Niffenegger explores the twins' relationship, which on its own is compelling, as she peels away each layer and exposes one dysfunction at a time, it becomes the heart of the whole piece.

    That is not to say the author doesn't develop the other characters and the other relationships in the novel. Martin and Mariyke's relationship alone could have easily supported its own novel. Their relationship was just as fascinating to me as any of the others.

    You have to let yourself go there, to this alternate reality that Niffenegger creates for her readers. Once you do, the story will pull you in, and these characters will, pardon the pun, haunt you.

    I find that I must say something about The Time Traveler's Wife. While the two books share a certain spirit, they are both beautifully unique. If Ms. Niffenegger chooses to take another 6 years to write her next novel, I am okay with that, as long as she continues to bring us brilliance.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Well written but disappointing

    Her Fearful Symmetry again shows off Niffennegger's impeccable writing skills. It is a well written book, and you feel that you know the characters because their mannerisms and characteristics are so vivid and realistic. This book fell short for me because it did not have the magic that I experienced with The Time Traveler's Wife. It was slow-paced, and the plot was just a little too out of left field for me. I wanted more from the ending.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Not worth the buy, but might be worth the read if you fit into one of these categories...

    I recommend this book to the following people: 1) Die hard fans of Niffeneggar's style of writing (emphasis on "die hard") 2) Fans of Victorian cemetery history (Not too many of you out there? Didn't think so). 3) People who hate their sisters and/or are resentful of being a twin 4) People who are turned on by polite, adorably awkward British historians with a penchant for much younger or much older women 5) People who love a good obsessive/compulsive underdog. 6) People who enjoy books that suck you into the world of the characters and their journeys only to pull the rug out from under you once you begin to care. If you do not fit into one of these categories, I doubt that this book would make your "Best Of 2009" book list. Many reviews have commented that this book starts out strong but then take some bizarre turns which seem completely ridiculous. These reviews are accurate. My advice? Go the library route for this book. It's not worth having in your library, although the cover is beautiful. In some ways the book is too, but it leaves you, like the characters, with too many regrets at how you've invested your time.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 27, 2009

    It fell fearfully flat

    This book started off as a promising read. I was totally absorbed with Robert's grief over Elspeth's death. But then, the plot started to get screwy, and the characters never developed beyond stick figures for me. I think part of the problem with the character development was the omniscient point-of-view from which the author wrote. The reader is given access into everyone's minds (and I do mean everyone) yet we never get to know any of the characters on that deep-gut level.

    The twins were just stupid, immature and ill-developed as characters. I got the distinct impression that Ms. Niffenegger got a bit carried away in her research on twins and got so sidetracked by wanting to share with us all of her newfound knowledge that she paid no attention to how she was utilizing that knowledge -- which either contradicted the characters' actions or else didn't further the storyline at all.

    And then Robert, initially my favorite character, totally zigzagged in directions I couldn't fathom. In one moment he's sneaking into the twins' apartment to conduct romantic seances with Elspeth, then hours later he's taking Valentina out to dinner and making romantic overtures. I just didn't get it, and I found myself not liking any of the characters, nor giving a fig about their fates, either individually or collectively. The one exception was Martin and his wife, both of whom were well-drawn. Still, were they necessary to the book? I think not. Their story had absolutely no bearing on the main plot.

    All in all, this book was a huge disappointment that left me feeling depressed and totally unfulfilled upon finishing it. Ms. Niffenegger writes beautifully, but hopefully she'll figure out how to tell her next story a bit better. I will give her one more shot with her next book. If it's no better than "Her Fearful Symmetry" then stick a fork in me, for I shall be done.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 29, 2010

    An Interesting Ghost Story

    I thought this was a unique and interesting book. I thought the characters were unique and exciting. I could not put it down, and even though the ending was a little sad I enjoyed the twist and the overall plot flow. The relationship between the two sisters and the aunt and the mother are very complex, tangled, and deep. Their conflicts and problems are opposite yet their solutions mirror each other in some ways. I have never read another book by her but I am looking forward to it. I would encourage others to read this book, it is not your average story.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 3, 2010

    Silly book

    I found this book to be inane. The plot is predictable. The main characters - either set of twins - were not likable.
    But then I didn't like the Time Traveler's Wife either.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful Modern Gothic Story!

    "Elspeth died while Robert was standing in front of a vending machine watching tea shoot into a small plastic cup." And so begins Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry. This exquisitely written first sentence of the first chapter titled, "The End," both shocks and attracts the reader. The story itself is replete with unpredictable plot twists and turns.

    As one who has not yet read Niffenegger's blockbuster The Time Traveler's Wife I was able to enjoy the novel without the raised expectations (and/or assumptions) that some readers experienced. As such I can honestly say that I loved Her Fearful Symmetry even as I also confess that I did not love the main characters (apart from the OCD neighbor Martin) or the ending. Normally, these factors would probably negate my enjoyment of the novel, but such is not the case because Niffenegger's tale is that engaging!

    This modern-gothic, character-driven novel is set in London and, more specifically, Highgate Cemetery. The famous cemetery is central to the plot and becomes an additional character in the story. In fact the novel did such a thorough job of incorporating its essence into the story that I now hope to visit it someday!

    Her Fearful Symmetry is a well-written unique story that is hard to put down!



    Publisher: Scribner; Simon & Schuster(September 29, 2009), 416 pages
    Review Copy Provided Courtesy of the publisher.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2009

    A bit confusing, but.....

    I actually enjoyed this book much more than the time traveler's wife, however, it is a lot to mull over. Some of the characters were selfish in the extreme, and not really likeable, but I don't believe that means they are not well developed. They just weren't all that likeable as people. I loved the setting (london); have been once, but briefly. Would love to go back, especially to see the cemetary. The twins were sometimes too intense, but I'm not a twin, so I can't really judge what that would be like. Loved the character of Martin, although I could never live with him (I actually have an obsessive/compulsive disorder friend, so I can relate). "Elspeth", the main character, I did not much like, but who is to say I would not have made the same (awful) choices she made, if I were in her situation. I did not find the novel at all boring, in fact, I read the whole thing in a couple of days. I found the ending sad in parts, and puzzling in others. Robert, I liked, but found him weak (as a person). I was puzzled by some of his actions. The twins had a very intense relationship, but did not always act as intensely as you would imagine them to, especially under extreme conditions. That would probably be my only real criticism. This book does not have a happy ending for most, and leaves you wondering about the others. All in all though, I would say it was much better than her first. Frankly, I could not get past the beginning of her first book. I was too bored, and did not care about the characters enough to keep reading. I think this book would be worthwhile for book clubs to read; should generate some interesting discussions.....

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    ABSOLUTELY HAUNTING!!

    LOVED IT! Elspeth dies from leukemia, leaves her estate to her twin nieces, who happen to be her twin sister's girls. Elspeth is still there...guiding, watching....as 20 yr. old Julie and Valentina endeavor to uncover devastating secrets and will captivate the reader with plenty of intrigue and mystery. Totally engaging and exciting!!!

    Two other captivating and exciting books I'd like to recommend are EXPLOSION IN PARIS, by L. Pirrung and THE HELP by, K. Stockett.....two more to add to your "Masterpiece List"

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Elegant and fascinating.

    You have to hand it to Audrey Niffenegger... She knows how to write beautiful prose. This book was fabulously written, if not fabulous overall.

    While I do appreciate the concept established by the ending of wish fulfillment (be careful what you wish for), and was tittilated by how each of the characters grasped what they wanted in their own ways, although not *how* they wanted it and, as always, was impressed by the writing, this isn't a book I actually enjoyed.

    It is lovely and fascinating. It is a book I will probably read many times in the future. But beware that you go into it expecting The Time Traveler's Wife, which it is not. Time Traveler's Wife was almost the exact opposite; all about the joy of longing and constant suspense of relationships, the agony and redeeming power of love. Her Fearful Symmetry is all about getting what you want--it is darker, has a much harder, uglier edge, and you won't like the characters very much.

    Having said all that, I still do highly recommend the book. Just... Knowing in advance what you're about to read will make it much more palatable.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Well Written, Great Characters, But Unfortunately, Anti-climactic...

    I'm not sure how I came to own this book or on what grounds I became interested in it. But Her Fearful Symmetry was one of those books you read and you simply walk away from it without any strong feelings, either positive or negative. Having never read anything by Audrey Niffenegger, I didn't know what to expect. But the writing style was brilliant and the story was quite intriguing for the most part. After a while though, the forced British cultural references became awkward for some reason (maybe because I knew it was coming from an American author) and I found myself doing a lot of "hurry up and wait" for certain plot events to happen. All in all, I finished this book wanting to say that I really enjoyed it. But the major plot twist is one that you can see coming a mile away. The lavish setting of the story really wasn't used to its full potential: the cemetery and the flat were such cool and interesting places that could have been more central to the story but in the end it was really just a place where everyone lived. And lastly, the richly developed characters (Niffenegger's strongest element) became so disappointing in the end. I don't know what was missing exactly, but I just thought they all should have amounted to something more. There was just no consequence, no resolution, no real ending other than the fact that we are no longer allowed to listen in on these peoples' lives. So I would reccommend this book to some people, because it was a captivating read. Twins will love it, people who strive to live vicariously through others will love it, and I'm sure Ouija Board enthusiasts will find it a gas. But I personally would not have read this if I knew it would end the way it did. The story may involve ghosts and the like, but it is NOT a "ghost story" and for me it was just average.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Disappointing Novel

    I was very disappointed with this book. The plot had potential but the story was weak and so was the character development. Too much time was spent describing the cemetery. There were several subpolts but they weren't given ther due either. If you have chosen this book because you were a fan of The Time Traveler's Wife, I suggest you pick something else. This is in no way as well written or captivating.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    This is the worst book I have ever read.

    The first 100 pages were good and kept me interested. Once the twins got to London it was boring and just stupid. The last 100 pages could not suck enough. I have never reviewed ANYTHIG before but this book was bad that I had to. The book is awful save your time and money.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointed

    I really wanted to read this book after reading The Time Travelers Wife (Loved that book). This one was a let down. I didn't even know I had finished the book until I saw acknowledgements. I actually turned the page back just to make sure the end of the book, was really the end of the book. It's like watching a movie and the credits start to roll and you jump out of your seat and say "WHAT? THAT'S IT???". Horrible ending. The most exciting part of the book was Mr. OCD (and the cover). I was terribly disappointed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A different kind of ghost story. Creepy in the telling and disturbingly wrong at times, yet it lures you in.

    It's impossible to discuss this novel without giving away bits of the story so I won't discuss plot. What I will discuss are some of the characters and how I felt while reading it. The start of the book was a tad slow but it picked up pretty quickly. Once you know all of the players, and there are only a handful of characters in this novel, you pretty much just sit back and take it all in. The twins are creepy. Both Elspeth/Edie and Valentina/Julia. Although the younger set appear to be somewhat normal, their dependence upon one another is a real turn-off at times and they still dress alike which at twenty-something says a lot about them. Weird!

    Although I didn't care for the twins too much, I was fascinated with the other characters in the novel, my favorite being Martin. Martin lives above the twins and suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. His compulsions are well-drawn and easy to visualize. He's such a nervous sort, that you can't help but feel sorry for him. Underneath all of his insecurities is a decent man and that comes through. I enjoyed reading about him.

    Elspeth, the ghost, interested me in the beginning but my opinion of her changed towards the end. What I found fascinating about her, was the learning process of being a ghost. Hiding in drawers, short-circuiting TVs, flicking lights on and off. Good stuff. As the story progresses things get creepier and Elspeth becomes more desperate, as do some of the other characters in the story. The overall desperation left me a bit depressed. I felt as if my insides were scooped out in some way.

    Those that enjoy traditional ghost stories may be a tad surprised. Her Fearful Symmetry is not a traditional ghost story even though it has the requisite cemetery, two sets of creepy twins and a lot of smoke and mirrors. It's.different. The characters talk to themselves a lot. I really enjoyed that part though. There are secrets and twists yet they aren't really that surprising once revealed. Meaning, they won't floor you, but they will bewilder you a bit. If you can step outside of what you consider a traditional ghost story to be, then you will enjoy this one. Although this one left me feeling a bit hollow, I still enjoyed it quite a bit for the characters.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fearful? yes...

    This really is one big huge disapointment to me. I really enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife and I was looking forward to this book but it has a convoluted, ridiculous plot, no redeeming characters (not to mention minimum character development) and was boring to boot.

    My advice? Don't bother.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    NOT SO FEARFUL SYMMETRY.....

    I'm a big fan of Audrey Niffenegger's first novel, The Time Traveler's Wife. In it she took an unlikely supernatural phenomenon and deftly inserted it into the lives of deep, sensitive, totally alive characters. She has tried to use the same formula again. Instead of time travel, we are meant to believe in ghosts and resurrection. But this time the characters are not as interesting and the phenomenon is introduced far too late in the novel so that the reader feels it was jammed in as an afterthought. And it's a shame because she had a lot of juicy ingredients with which to craft what could have been a creepy modern ghost story; the famous Highgate Cemetary, an colorful OCD with marital issues, two sets of identical blonde twins and the best setting for a suspense novel, London.

    The two stunning plot twists which come at the end are handled so clumsily that they lose any dramatic impact they might have added to the tale. The journalistic term "burrying the lead" comes to mind. One gets the feeling that Niffenegger ran out of time on her deadline and rushed the ending. The first two-thirds of the novel are well paced, establishing the mood, drawing the characters, setting the plot in motion. Then in the final third, when all the plot lines and characters should come together in a shattering but satisfying climax, it falls apart.

    And yet her writing is superb. Her deft, gentle hand at description and characterization is a wonderful treat. You breathe and live with these characters. You can smell them and taste them. She makes us feel deeply the special claustrophobia of an identical twin, the desperate shame of a someone with OCD, and the suicidal melancholy of a man who has lost his love.

    Despite its flaws, I liked it. But I didn't love it the way I love TTW. I didn't rush back the the beginning to immediately re-read it as I did with TTW.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 827 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 42