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Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel (edição: 2009)
de Audrey Niffenegger (Autor)
Her Fearful Symmetry de Audrey Niffenegger
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Others have suggested a reader needs to willingly suspend disbelief. Definitely so. Creepy. ( )
Really liked the writing style however the plot was rather odd and left me with more questions than answers. Several times in the book characters decisions were supposedly the "only option", I didn't feel that this was convincingly argued. Ultimately a list of very selfish characters and how that attribute can ruin your life and the life of all those around you to the extreme. I was more interested in the upstairs couple's story than that of the main characters.
La prematura muerte de Elspeth Noblin, una excéntrica bibliófila londinense, transforma abruptamente la vida de sus sobrinas, las gemelas Julia y Valentina Poole. A pesar de que no conocían a su tía, ésta les ha dejado en herencia un magnífico piso con vistas al cementerio de Highgate, en Londres, con la condición de que jamás permitan a su madre cruzar el umbral del apartamento. Ansiosas por dejar atrás su aburrida rutina en un típico barrio residencial de Estados Unidos, las gemelas ignoran por completo lo que el destino les depara en Inglaterra. Por un lado, están sus nuevos vecinos: Martin Wells, un brillante y seductor erudito que vive atenazado por sus obsesiones, y el esquivo Robert Fanshaw, antiguo amante de Elspeth, un historiador que ha dedicado media vida a estudiar el famoso cementerio, visible desde su ventana. Y por otro, los secretos de su tía, que incluso después de muerta parece resistirse a abandonar su apartamento.
I forced myself to finish this book. I'm not really sure why...probably for the sake of this year's reading challenge. I read Bizarre Romance, a hybrid short story collection/graphic novel that Niffenegger did with her husband, and I really loved how, well, bizarre some of the stories were. I thought maybe that level of tongue-in-cheek surrealism would also be found in the novel. I was wrong. Tragically wrong, really. The whole book rests on some pretty flimsy characters making some really bad decisions. Maybe instead of using a phrase from one from one of the most celebrated poems (ironically written NOT a Victorian poet, yet the book is heavy with Victorian references) it should have just been titled Throwing the Baby Out With the Bath Water.
The premise isn't bad, but the story didn't really back up the description on the jacket. For example, there's something in the description about there is "much still alive" in Highgate Cemetery, but the cemetery is of zero importance to the story, and there is nothing at all going on there until the very, very end when suddenly there are a bazillion ghosts hanging out waiting to fly around on some crows. The scene itself makes little sense, and prompts a whole lot more questions about the rest of the story--how did all the ghosts even get there if ghosts are usually stuck in their houses? Why is Elspeth stuck in the flat to start with? Why does Valentina have to hitch a ride in her sister's mouth (of all places) to get out? Why go to the cemetery at all once she escaped the house? Why do beings who can already fly need or even want to zip around on a crow? (sure, Valentina herself asks this last question, but the only answer another ghost gives her is "It's different." Great, thanks.) And those are just the questions about that particular part of the story. Ultimately, the vast majority of the conflicts could have been resolved if the characters were simply decent people who were honest with the people they loved and maybe, I dunno, had some spines. The most interesting characters were a side story that appear to simply have been inserted into the story for a single pivotal moment to make sure Julia was out of the flat just long enough for Valentina to let Elspeth murder her.
Really, I could go on and on about the flawed story here, but several other reviewers have done a good job of that already. I will say, however, that I really do think that Niffenegger is fully capable of doing a better job with this story. I watched the two little videos that show up on the Goodreads page for this book, and she seems to have had very good and interesting intentions with this book. Perhaps it was just the pressure of the massive post-blockbuster money and publicity that gave us this half-baked book. Having not read The Time Traveler's Wife, I couldn't say for sure. Whatever the case, I wouldn't write Niffenegger off completely. I just think she missed the target with this one.
I was enjoying listening to Her Fearful Symmetry until the end of CD 9 (I dozed off during the scene in question and didn't want to go back for it.) I sadly went on with CD 10, but by its end I couldn't stand Elspeth and didn't want to listen to the last two CDs. I'm giving it two stars because it wasn't bad until it went off the rails.
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Niffenegger’s story is written with a lightness of touch and with a great eye for the oddities of human behaviour.
Niffenegger has always identified loss as her main subject, but here at least it’s dissolution: the grim inevitability of decay. The theme of doubleness feeds into this. Valentina wants to break free of the controlling Julia and live her own life, but can she survive without her? Forced togetherness, the “fearful symmetry” of the title, can lead to a diminution of individual identity, a merging of personalities. Sometimes apartness is preferable.
Instead of fabricating ghosts and faux-Englishmen, it's a shame that Niffeneggers didn't just cut away all the cobwebby Halloween trappings and write a moving, realistic story about a man with OCD who is trapped for real, rather than ersatz, reasons in a flat overlooking a cemetery. She sustains a mood, but it is vaguely repellent, rather than enjoyably disquieting. Instead of a lingering, unforgettable ghost story, this is the novelistic equivalent of a cut-rate séance, a parlour game complete with Ouija boards and cheap theatrics, as unconvincing as knuckles rapping under tables
Niffenegger is an extraordinarily sensitive and accomplished writer, and Her Fearful Symmetry is a work of lovely delicacy... But Her Fearful Symmetry is not a book of great emotional force, not the way Time Traveler's Wife was.
Mysteries and truths slowly unravel as the story progresses. The major plot resolves predictably, but its grim inevitability fits well with the genre, and a few more surprising twists produce an even more satisfying read than Niffenegger’s bestselling debut.
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Wikipédia em inglês (2)
When Elspeth Noblin dies, she leaves everything to the 20-year-old American twin daughters of her own long-estranged twin, Edie. Valentina and Julia, as enmeshed as Elspeth and Edie once were, move into Elspeth's London flat and through a series of developing relationships a crisis develops that could pull the twins apart.
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Classificação decimal de Dewey (CDD)813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
Classificação da Biblioteca do Congresso dos E.U.A. (LCC)
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