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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife, is releasing her second book, Her Fearful Symmetry September 29, 2009.

I was late on The Time Traveler's Wife bandwagon. That shouldn't be a surprise though, as I only read To Kill a Mockingbird two years ago and I still haven't read anything Harry Potter related and I watched all of the Star Wars movies only because my son forced me (lest I be a bad mother.)

I read Time Traveler's Wife last year and I remember laying in bed, crying over the ending image. I had replaced Clare with myself and my undying love for my own husband and pictured myself as Clare--waiting.

It is one of the most beautiful stories I've ever experienced.

Her Fearful Symmetry is a different kind of story. It is also a beautiful story, but in it's own way. Please don't expect a retelling of The Time Traveler's Wife as you'll be sorely disappointed.

Her Fearful Symmetry is a dark story about identity and breaking points. What defines each relationship we enter into? At what point am I, me and you, you and where do we intersect and converge? Whether you are born into a relationship or enter it willingly, is there a line drawn in the sand for each? Twins, sisters, mothers and daughters, lovers, married couples. The dynamic between each is so different, yet in this story, you understand that there's an underlying familiarity.

Her Fearful Symmetry is about making concessions in relationships and ultimately, making decisions to not make those concessions any longer and the consequences of such. How can one remain entangled with another a yet be separate? It is impossible, though we fight it and the reality is much different than our imagined fantasy.

Her Fearful Symmetry is also about deception and love. In the beginning, we understand there's a secret. Where there is a secret, there is deception. And oh the webs we weave. The story starts like OCD, with everything packed away in its place, tight and secure, double and triple-checked but you pull one string and the whole knitted garment you worked untold hours to create unravels stitch by stitch until there is nothing left.

* * *

There were a few things I didn't respond well to in the beginning. I'm a bit of a point of view purist and it's a good thing I set out with a trust in the author, otherwise I might not have been able to overcome my own OCD tendencies for they would have screamed with every italicized thought and point of view switch. I hushed the voices by chanting, trust her--she wrote The Time Traveler's Wife. To my surprise, somewhere around part two, I considered there might have been a reason for the style and at the end, I admitted (albeit reluctantly) there was no other way to tell this story.

The big secret of the story was really no surprise at all to me. I might have been disappointed about that had the other big thing not have happened and that one--I didn't see coming. But why I didn't see it is beyond me. Maybe by that point I had become invested in the story and wanted it to work out my way.

The end though, surprised me in the darkest way possible and revealed my character, my dark side, and all the un-pleasantries that come along with such a discovery.

Her Fearful Symmetry, the perfect title for this book, is a complicated mess of a story that the reader is allowed to witness. It's like a peek into the keyhole of The Eccentrics only to realize it's a mirror you're gazing into.

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Amanda said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to review Her Fearful Symmetry. To keep updated on the book and its upcoming release, please check out the Facebook page:

Thanks again!

Matthew said...

Thanks again for reviewing the book, Michelle.

I'm Matt, also from Regal To add to Amanda's comment above, Regal Literary wants to announce that we have started a contest.

Readers of this blog might be interested in knowing that Regal is giving away ten advanced reader’s copies and three first edition hardcovers of the new Audrey Niffenegger book, Her Fearful Symmetry, on October 1st in a lottery to anyone who joins the facebook page as a fan and sends an e-mail to Good luck!

Donna said...

I love reading and am part of three different book clubs - it was great meeting you yesterday. Thanks for the book review, I might have to pick up this book!

Donna said...

All good - I hate to take public transportation alone...

InTheFastLane said...

I am looking forward to being able to read this book. I took me a long time to pick up The Time Traveler's wife, something made me not read it because "everyone" seemed to be doing it. so, this time I want to be first :)