Abridged

NaBloPoMo August logoThis’ll likely be another short post, I’m afraid, as I need to go out in about an hour, and amn’t ready yet.

20. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

This is one of two audiobooks we were given on or around our wedding (the other comes next on the list, although I probably don’t have time to talk about it now), both of which were somewhat abridged. It’s hard to know how much of the dissatisfaction we felt with each to put down to the abridgements, as in each case it felt like there were essentials missing (although the readings were very good in both cases). Both books have proven authors (here both my DH and I like The Time Traveler’s Wife) but I think we’re both just turned off by abridgements, although still very grateful to the person who gave us the audiobooks, as providing us with new good books, and giving us something good to listen to when we were offline (again!) this Spring, and so weren’t getting the podcasts and Librivox audiobooks.

With all that said, as TTW was Niffenegger playing with a science-fiction concept to build a well thought out character novel, here she’s looking more to paranormal ideas of unearthly twinning and ghost stories, and unfortunately it just doesn’t seem to work quite as well. There is a much larger cast of major and point of view characters, and while Niffenegger manages that, it’s sometimes hard to see where the point is. The novel appears to be about Julia and Valentina Poole, identical (and mirror-image) twins, who having grown up in the USA hardly knowing anything of their mother’s English family, are suddenly left their aunt’s (their mother’s own estranged identical twin) home and wealth next to Highgate Cemetery in north London. Really, though, the book is in many ways more about their aunt and her friends and neighbours, and how they all cope with losing her and gaining two such alien (in age and culture) creatures in her place, and in turn, how that impacts upon the two themselves.

It was a good story, but unsatisfying (especially at the end), and it didn’t grab me enough to spend the fortune new books in English cost in this country to see how much better the full book would be. Let’s just say that I’d certainly give a borrowed copy a chance, and probably a second-hand one, so we’ll see if one turns up in our regular trawls of the second-hand-bookshops around here.

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One Response to “Abridged”

  1. To continue… « Kaet's Weblog Says:

    […] is the second of the abridged audiobooks we were given last year and listened to at the beginning of this summer. As with the other, we […]

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