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Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

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By the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife is a newer novel; Her Fearful Symmetry. This book has all the magical element of The Time Traveler’s Wife with an entirely new, fantastic story.


When Julia and Valentina Poole’s aunt, Elspeth Noblin, dies of leukemia, the twins inherit her estate in England. They leave their familiar life in America to a foreign house of odd neighbors and family landmarks. Then, after noticing odd occurrences in their flat, the twins realize that their aunt may still be alive in the house. As Valentina becomes increasingly angered by Julia’s possessiveness, she hatches a dangerous plan with her aunt in order to escape.


Her Fearful Symmetry is a story of personality and consequences. It features Julia and Valentina’s lives together, Robert’s experiences after the death of a lover, and Martin’s struggle with OCD.


Julia and Valentina are twins, and throughout their lives have maintained an intense attachment to each other. Julia is daring, outgoing, and extroverted, while Valentina is quiet and timid. The driving force of the story is that Julia takes it upon herself to take care of Valentina- though beyond the normal standards of tending. When Valentina is ill, and after a scuffle with Robert, Julia says; “I take care of her. That’s my job.” and on the sight of the kitten attempting to do the same; “You too, huh? We all want to be her only one.” Unfortunately, Julia’s attachment is seen as a dictatorship and completely limiting of freedom by Valentina. Julia never wants to be separated; never wants to live away from Valentina. Whatever she does everyday, she wants it to be done with Valentina, and her attachment is exactly what drives Valentina to plan an escape.


Her Fearful Symmetry is a story to fall into and be lost in. The characters, whether main or obscure, are familiar enough to be real. Through them, the story can be known from every angle. The events and descriptions are vividly realistic and the emotions of every character or scene can be felt.


This charming story of family connection is made of such thorough description that even the most minute details can be perceived, which makes the story remarkably real.




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