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Extended Audio Sample Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel Audiobook, by Audrey Niffenegger Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.29 out of 53.29 out of 53.29 out of 53.29 out of 53.29 out of 5 3.29 (34 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Audrey Niffenegger Narrator: Bianca Amato Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2009 ISBN: 9780743599313
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When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leavers her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt, only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers—with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another. They are twenty.

The girls move to Elspeth’s flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building’s other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin’s devoted but trapped wife, and Robert, Elspeth’s elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt’s neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including—perhaps—their aunt, who can’t seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

Niffenegger weaves a captivating story in Her Fearful Symmetry about love and identity, about secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life—even after death.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An intriguing look at kinship and the danger of getting what you wished for.”

    Good Housekeeping

  • “Following up a phenomenal blockbuster is not easy, but Niffenegger rises to the task with Her Fearful Symmetry. Fans will find plenty of rewards in her clever…[and] unique modern ghost story…Her descriptions transport the reader directly into a moody Victorian landscape of beauty and death…Mesmerizing…A deeply moving story filled with unforgettable characters…A beautiful testament to Niffenegger’s fertile imagination and love of storytelling.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “Niffenegger is an extraordinarily sensitive and accomplished writer, and Her Fearful Symmetry is a work of lovely delicacy.”

    Time

  • “[A] gravely buoyant new novel of phantom loves and all-too-tangible fears.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Niffenegger piles on plenty of action…The book’s end [is] a genuine surprise…Elspeth’s death…is moving, as is Robert’s surprising immediate reaction to it…[Martin] is intricate and fascinating, especially because of Niffenegger’s ability to get inside his head…Niffenegger is especially good on the subject of twins…[She] deftly plumbs the depths of her subject, showing a profound and imaginative understanding.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “A compelling modern-day ghost story set in and around London’s atmospheric Highgate cemetery…An engrossing love story that crosses to the ‘other side,’ Symmetry offers an inventive take on sibling rivalry, personal identity, and what it’s like to be dead.”

    People

  • “Niffenegger slowly draws out the relationship between the indolent young twins in a strange dance that’s alternately charming and sinister…Their sisterly devotion sounds sweet until it seems suffocating, with a touch of incestuous frisson that would leave Edgar Allan Poe queasy…Keep the children away and dust off the Ouija board; you’re about to make contact with something deliciously creepy.”

    Washington Post

  • “Bewitching…Lovers of Niffenegger’s past work should rejoice. This outing may not be as blindly romantic as The Time Traveler’s Wife, but it is mature, complex, and convincing—a dreamy yet visceral tale of loves both familial and erotic, a search for Self in the midst of obsession with an Other. Her Fearful Symmetry is as atmospheric and beguiling as a walk through Highgate itself.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the October 2009 Indie Next List
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adi | 2/14/2014

    " Loved it. Better than Time Traveler's Wife. She knows how to write characters that are interesting even before something interesting happens to them - that's rare even in the best books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynda Reilly-cake | 2/14/2014

    " It was a disappointing ending "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aimee Keithly | 2/10/2014

    " This book was pretty weird, but I love the way Audrey writes. I could feel everything she described and will continue to read everything by her. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tania | 2/8/2014

    " A textbook case of a "second-novel-itis" - the author clearly has nothing to say and no idea whatsoever what to write about, so she struggles along and finishes with sort of nothing. Not a bang, but a whimper. I loved "The time traveler's wife", but this one is hopeless. This book is somewhat redeemed by the descriptions of London and the Victorian atmosphere if you are into those things. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joy Gerrits vertz | 2/1/2014

    " Really clever and fun read. Loved the romantic but ghostly theme "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harriet Olivia | 1/13/2014

    " At first, I thought that it was rather oddly written. The characters weren't introduced to us typically. They were just there. But as I got into the story, I began to enjoy the journey. The ending is so sad, I just wanted it to have a happy ending, and in some cases it does with a hint of sorrow. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Siv | 1/11/2014

    " I downright disliked this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shannon | 1/10/2014

    " I liked the characters (especially the OCD upstairs neighbor) and the setting. Very intriguing & different, but unfortunately too slow for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle D'costa | 12/24/2013

    " d story is very imaginative yet bits of conversations and lines in d book make u associate wid d characters..d author has a unique way of pointing out universal yet personal observations...hats off "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 12/17/2013

    " This book is a bit creepy, but I do like the way she writes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Holly Fletcher-timmons | 12/15/2013

    " The writing was beautiful. It really created a tone that was tangible. Every time I think of this book I will remember a sense of delicacy. But again, as seems to be the trend with books I've read recently, the story took a nose-dive and I was very unhappy and dissatisfied with the ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 12/3/2013

    " the author kept your interest peaked just when you thought you knew what was going to happen the surprises kept coming. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather Hladish | 11/29/2013

    " This is a good little ghost story. Not her best work but definitely a pleasant way to kill a few hours on a rainy afternoon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mezzogal Goh | 11/24/2013

    " interesting book. but sick climax and ending imo. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Penelope | 11/22/2013

    " There are very few contenders for Atwood's throne in my universe, but Audrey Niffeneger is definitely one of them! Brilliantly crafted storytelling. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda Winters | 8/13/2013

    " An interesting story but sadly not as good as The Time Traveller's Wife. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Miriam | 4/1/2013

    " Very strange book. I usually like bizarre or morbid books, but this story teetered between weirdness and normality like it couldn't decide which one it wanted to be. I don't think I would ever want to read it again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky | 2/19/2013

    " This was an excellent read! Once I started it, I couldn't put it down! Was as enjoyable as "Time Traveler's Wife"! Looking forward to her next book ... hope it is sooner than later! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shannon Bradley | 12/27/2012

    " I really enjoyed this book. Right up to the last couple of chapters where the paranormal goes more sci-fi. That just ruined it for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeni Anderson | 11/1/2012

    " Very strange book. It kept my attention but I am not sure I would recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 9/9/2012

    " This book was interesting. I enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 K.V. Witten | 6/18/2012

    " I find this book difficult to rate. I thought it was beautifully written but I personally did not find it that interesting. But that's a subjective opinion, others might love it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 4/10/2012

    " An intriguing plot, but didn't blow me away like "The Time Traveller's Wife". I felt that some of the characters made very irrational decisions, and though they made for a good story, they were not believable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robyn | 11/8/2011

    " A little creepy at times, but I liked that. I wasn't really pleased with the ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clifford | 7/7/2011

    " I really enjoyed it, I enjoyed just about everything she has done "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Teresa | 6/30/2011

    " Sad, strange story. I couldn't put it down, yet I couldn't figure out if I actually liked any of the characters, except for one couple. A lot of subtle layers. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tracy | 6/30/2011

    " OK. Interesting concept. Easy read but not a great. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terresa | 6/29/2011

    " Nicely done, interesting twist to the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellie | 6/28/2011

    " A bit gruesome at first when i finished reading it i didn't really like it and didn't see the point but after days of the story being stuck in my head and contemplating the storyline i realised it was actually an ok book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Ellen | 6/25/2011

    " This book is bizarre! I am surprised at how much I liked it! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emilie | 6/24/2011

    " This book was very dark. The way it was written got me intrigued and I finished the book in no time, but ended up desapointed. I didn't see anything positive of the way it ends. I wouldn't recomend it to anyone! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Giulio | 6/24/2011

    " I'm liking this book so far. It is an unusual sort of ghost story. There are no scary ghosts; it is more like a love story in which one of the characters is dead. I enjoy the author's sense of humor and I can't wait to find out how this story turns out and how all the subplots come together. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jelena | 6/24/2011

    " Liikaa keskeneräisiä asioita, jotka olisin halunnu tietää enkä loppujen lopukskaan tajunnu mitä niitten välillä oli tapahtunu. Mut olihan sitä ihan kiva lukea, tosin todella epäselvä ja sekava. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Juliana | 6/23/2011

    " Excellent writing, creepy, though intriguing, story. Unsatisfying ending. "

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About the Author
Author Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger is a professor in the MFA program at the Columbia College, as well as Chicago Center for Book and Paper Artsa visual artist and a guide at Highgate Cemetery. In addition to her bestselling novels, The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, she is the author of illustrated novels, including The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress. She lives in Chicago.

About the Narrator

Bianca Amato is an actress and narrator born and raised in South Africa. Trained at the University of Cape Town’s Drama school, she went on to work in theater and television in South Africa before moving to New York in 2002. She is the winner of five AudioFile Earphones Awards and Audie Awards.