Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry

by Audrey Niffenegger

In what is perhaps becoming Audrey Niffenegger's signature style, Her Fearful Symmetry is a thrilling mix between reality and fantasy. Like The Time Traveller's Wife, her latest effort is a dark and delicious page turner and I managed to finish the book in 4 days. The characters are very real and her knowledge of London's Highgate Cemetery is thorough; I have never visited it, but after reading this book I feel as though I've been living beside it for years.

This is not your typical ghost story. Niffenegger's ghosts feel like actual possibilities, so much so that I caught myself wondering if this was really how the ghost thing worked and how did Niffenegger figure it out. While reading, I felt myself questioning Death and beyond. In Tibetan Buddhism, they say when the loved ones of the deceased haven't really let them go, they stay near and don't leave until their loved ones find the strength to let them go. Niffenegger touches on this theory and manages to provide a very satisfying ending.

While this is a very well-written, inventive and extremely appealing page turner, Her Fearful Symmetry does not cause the adrenaline rush The Time Traveller's Wife did. With that said, it provides a nice escape from the August heat.

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