I loved the ever-living hell out of The Time-Traveler’s Wife. I almost hate to love a book that hard, especially a debut because HOW DO YOU TOP THAT!?!?! The Sophomore Curse is sitting in your lap and begging for a treat. So I’ve been awaiting the release of Her Fearful Symmetry with equal proportions of eagerness and tenterhooks (eagerhooks!). Audrey! Do not let me down!
I do not feel let down. I feel sweetly sad and sort of unnerved because TWINS! They are freaky shit.
Ok, so, there’s these twins, Elspeth and Edie, and Elspeth dies. Like, straight off. Not even like HA! DIES! But soothingly, like, Welcome to the book, and here she is dying, and now she is dead. AND NOW SHE IS A GHOST!
Ha ha, what?
Right, so she is a ghost and she is trapped in her apartment, so it is fortuitous that she bequeathed said apartment to her estranged-twin-sister’s twin daughters (mercifully named Valentina and Julia) and stipulated that they had to come live in it for a year before they could sell it.
So the twins come and live and Elspeth haunts them for fun and her downstairs-lover is sad because she is dead, but she isn’t able to go haunt him because she can’t leave the apartment. And this is the part that would be Terribly Spooky if we weren’t all up in Elspeth’s ghost-head, but it isn’t. It’s actually kind of darling, because things like ghosts and twins are endearing when they aren’t freaking your shit out.
Ok, but then things take a turn for the unexpectedly dark. And this is what I love about Niffenegger, that she isn’t afraid to throw her characters under the bus. Remember in TT-TW...ok, this will seriously ruin it for the one person who still hasn’t read it. TEAM, switch to white text and select-all! Ok, remember in TT-TW when you began to suspect that Henry might die, and you were all, No, please don’t let Henry die, and then how RENDING it was when he DIED!??!?! Remember that? I love that. I love when authors treat characters with the same sort of carelessness that LIFE does.
And the writing is sharp and interesting without being twee, and the characters are friendly to the mind, and there is a Little Kitten of Death, and if Her Fearful Symmetry didn’t EAT MY BRAIN the way TT-TW did, it’s probably because I expected such awesome and was prepared for it.
Requisite ass-covering: I was supposed to get this book from the publisher but then didn’t because ZOMGECONOMY THE WHOLE WORLD IS POOR NOW and it kind of broke my heart, but then I won it from Heather (who is an awesome person and who is not paying me to say that, but who DID send it to me in the mail even though she is probably poor now too), which I figure is the Universe’s way of saying Sorry for giving you cancer, now have a book.