Her Fearful Symmetry

Audrey Niffenegger
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Dec 1, 2016


"After their English aunt dies, listless American twins Julia and Valentina travel to London to live in their aunt's now empty flat overlooking Highgate Cemetery. There they become embroiled in the day-to-day sagas of their eccentric neighbors. But soon they discover that something is alive in Highgate--something unable to move on."

A haunted, aging apartment in north London, bordering one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, complete with an unusual set of inhabitants and a bit of London's darker history sprinkled throughout . . . no one had to convince me to pick this one up. 

Unfortunately, Her Fearful Symmetry is quite a mixed bag. As established in any other Audrey Niffenegger work, she has a beautiful grasp of language. Her writing is lovely, romantic, and expressive. The characters are unique, captivating, and mysterious, and the setting is near perfect. The problems really arise with the plot and character arcs. The characters are interesting but vastly self-absorbed and illogical. They conjure bizarre problems and then react to them in the most dramatic and irrational ways possible. I often found myself pausing to think “What? Why!? Why would you do that!?” The plot meanders for the majority of the book, reaches somewhat of an abrupt apex, and then dissipates in an unsatisfying conclusion. Overall, the setting and writing style are a pleasure to get swept away in, but the errors in plot and characterization make it a frustrating read. 

Reviewed by Sam S.
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