Book Worth Reading: Her Fearful Symmetry

She said, "I know what it's like to be dead.
I know what it is like to be sad."
And she's making me feel like I've never been born.

-The Beatles

While I am partial to Audrey Niffenegger, I am still going to insist that you read Her Fearful Symmetry – Niffenegger’s second novel following The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Her newest novel isn’t exactly a departure from the themes that filled TTTW – namely love that transcends time and place - but Her Fearful Symmetry is most definitely darker than her debut novel and is read as a Gothic Romance. Page by page this novel becomes more eerie and bizarre, but still contains descriptions of romance and love that only Niffengger can employ.
He panicked: How will I remember everything about Elspeth? Now he was full of her smells, her voice, the hesitation on the telephone before she said his name, the way she moved when he made love to her, her delight in impossibly high-heeled shoes, her sensuous manner when handling old books and her lack of sentiment when she sold them. At this moment he knew everything he would ever know of Elspeth, and he urgently needed to stop time so that nothing could escape.

While this novel stands ahead of many others published this year, it won’t be a hit of The Time Traveler’s Wife proportions, nor, in my opinion, should it be. However, Niffenegger had a lot to live up to after her debut and I think she yet again managed to offer an original love story written in beautiful prose.
With that being said, let’s pretend I don’t LOVE Audrey Niffenegger and have an unbais opinion. I would probably mention the ending is given away 50 pages before it actually happens because the conclusion is so painfully obvious after the second it’s alluded to. I may also critique a few of the main characters underdevelopment and suggest the most memorable character was the obsessive compulsive crossword puzzle writer who wasn’t even essential to the plot.
But, I do love Audrey, so read it.

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