Monday, 13 September 2010

Her fearful ghost story

I've plenty to tell you about patterns, but I'm on the sofa and my camera isn't.

Instead, a warning: if you loved The Time Traveler's Wife and have been saving up the treat of Niffenegger's latest, Her Fearful Symmetry (number 45), then just walk away. Pick up TTTW again and once more sob yourself silly; go for a walk; try some Russians instead - just don't commit several hours of your life to HFS because you'll find it gripping, you'll see faint shadows of the sort of insight into people that you know she's capable of, but then you'll be smothered by the heavily worn research, the creaking explanations of funny English things, and the far-fetched, un-thought-through plot. Yes, I know TTTW had as its central premise a man who accidentally travelled in time, and I know that it was so riddled with inconsistencies that you'd think it hadn't even occurred to her to look at the logic of it...but it was original, it was a vehicle for a love story, and it worked. HFS would be a hundred times better if it:
1. skipped the second twin plot;
2. got rid of the ghosts; and
3. stopped lecturing about Highgate cemetery
 - but it would leave it more pamphlet than book.
I was honestly a bit gutted because I'd been so sure that I'd love it like I loved the last one, but really, I can't  believe that even Audrey herself loves it.
Now, War and Peace, on the other hand....


  1. I feel like the only person on earth who thought TTTW was boring. Am now tempted to reread it.

  2. You read it all the way through, and thought it was boring? (Gasps, clutches heart). What about all the times he talks about how he couldn't do without his feet, and "had we but world enough and time", and, oh, the terrible sadness of it all?!
    (though really, if you didn't like it, then absolutely super-definitely don't read Her Fearful Symmetry)