> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 1 May 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409076919
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 496

Her Fearful Symmetry

The brilliant new novel from the author of the massive international bestseller, The Time Traveler's Wife

At last ---another brilliant, original and moving novel from the author of THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE.

Julia and Valentina Poole are normal American teenagers - normal, at least, for identical 'mirror' twins who have no interest in college or jobs or possibly anything outside their cozy suburban home. But everything changes when they receive notice that an aunt whom they didn't know existed has died and left them her flat in an apartment block overlooking Highgate Cemetery in London. They feel that at last their own lives can begin ... but have no idea that they've been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive-compulsive crossword setter who lives above them to their aunt's mysterious and elusive lover who lives below them, and even to their aunt herself, who never got over her estrangement from the twins' mother - and who can't even seem to quite leave her flat....
With Highgate Cemetery itself a character and echoes of Henry James and Charles Dickens, HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY is a delicious and deadly twenty-first-century ghost story about Niffenegger's familiar themes of love, loss and identity. It is certain to cement her standing as one of the most singular and remarkable novelists of our time.

  • Pub date: 1 May 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409076919
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 496

About the Author

Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger is a visual artist and writer who lives mostly in Chicago and occasionally in London. She has published six books, including the novels The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry. She helped to found the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts. Her art has been exhibited by Printworks Gallery in Chicago since 1986. She is a Professor in the Fiction Department of Columbia College. Her recent projects include a ballet, Raven Girl, in collaboration with Wayne McGregor for the Royal Opera House Ballet.

Also by Audrey Niffenegger

See all

Praise for Her Fearful Symmetry

“...(Niffenegger) has a knack for taking the romantic into the realm of creepiness, and she constructs a taut mystery around the secret to be found in Elspeth's diaries...It's no small achievement that the revelations are both organic and completely unexpected”

The New Yorker

“Delicious and deadly”

Yorkshire Evening Post

“A powerful and beautiful exploration of the relationships between the living and the dead...Niffenegger's writing has lost none of its emotional power”


“The depiction of Highgate Cemetery and its inhabitants is haunting... and meticulously researched”

The List

“A ghostly love story and a lovely ghost story.”


“The novel's representation of London rings completely true"; "The universe of Her Fearful Symmetry is solid and familiar..."; "This is a rich, involving novel...”

John O'Connell, The Times

“It's been worth the wait...Niffenegger's books are fabulously left field, striking an unlikely balance between romance and fantasy. A brilliantly beautiful book.”


“Chillingly good”

Eithne Farry, Marie Claire

“A one-off pleasure”

Fanny Blake, Woman & Home

“There's no mistaking Niffenegger's originality or her own commitment to her imagined world. She's a real rarity: at once a good writer and a genuine obsessive”

David Sexton, Evening Standard

“Many readers will adore this sort of plot”

Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times

“Stylish, easy to read... with a dark, delicious plot which has several neat twists”

Tom Adair, Scotsman

“Accomplished and considered”

Stephanie Merritt, Observer

“Delicious prose...she lays out her story in delectable, textual pictures...a powerful, beautifully written ghost story”


“There may be ghosts, but it's the human stories that glitter”


“A multi-layered, absorbingly nuanced love story...Beautifully constructed and unfurling with exquisite tragedy, Niffenegger proves The Time Traveller's Wife was not a one-off”

Easy Living

“Niffenegger's story is written with a lightness of touch and with a great eye for the oddities of human behaviour”

Lorna Bradbury, Daily Telegraph

“a nicely atmospheric book”

Catherine Taylor, Sunday Telegraph

“Niffenegger rarely reverts to stereotypes when creating her characters...they are always interesting..." "...Niffenegger's writing...becomes beautifully simple and poignant." "...an emotional depth rarely found in ghost stories."”

Shirley Whiteside, Sunday Herald

“A ghost story which is as much about the living as it is the dead”

Charlotte Vowden, Express

“Niffenegger's quirky characters and her depiction of tourist-fantasy London - with its Tube rides, shoppingtrips in Knightsbridge and cucumber sandwiches for tea - it'scharming and inventive.”

Laura Silverman, Daily Mail

“There's enough off-beat characterisation to keep Niffeneger safely on the bestsellers list”

Holly Kyte, Telegraph Seven Magazine

Related titles