Her Fearful Symmetry is a dull, daintily and perversely written clusterfuck that is an affront to both expectations and decency. Like so many others, I picked up the book based solely on the strength of her freshman effort, The Time Traveler’s Wife. And, like them, I couldn’t help but wonder if Niffenegger didn’t, in fact, have her own twin who she commissioned to write this exercise in tedium and frustration.
Because, whereas the writing itself has shades of the Niffenegger seen inThe Time Traveler’s Wife, it can’t distract from the quality of the content it’s used to convey. Without spoiling too much, it spins a yarn which includes overtones of pedophilia, incest, and necrophilia, just to name a few.
Furthermore, its characters are all vapid, reprehensible human beings whose actions follow no underlying logic or rationale. The ending in particular, in which Robert seems to finally gain what he’d been lacking all along, which is a proper conscience, is insultingly out of touch with everything that preceded it as well as believability in general.
So, unless you’re willing to take my copy off my hands, because I’d rather not have my bookshelves populated by such trash, I suggest you avoid this sophomore plunge altogether, especially if you want to retain a modicum of respect for Niffenegger as a writer.
Travis Smith’s blog, containing this review, as well as others, photography, and more, can be found here.