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Extended Audio Sample Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel, by Audrey Niffenegger Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (52,929 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:
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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

  • “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

  • “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

  • 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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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