Tag Archives: Audrey Niffenegger

Raven Girl Ballet


Back when I reviewed Raven Girl the book I mentioned that there was a ballet coming out. Well I went with two friends. My friends hadn’t read the book, and the only ballet I’d ever seen before was them dancing at uni (which isn’t really the same as professional ballet). So I think we made quite a good little group to go together.

In some ways I think it might have been better if I didn’t have prior knowledge of the book because I kept getting lost trying to work out which part of the book things were. When I spoke to my friends about this they said that ballet tends to go off on pretty tangents, so it might not have been any particular part of the story.

However I’m not sure if I would have understood what was going on without having read the book.

The dancing was rather beautiful, and I loved how they used images from the book along wth the dancing. Plus some bits were really clever.

It was jointly done with the ballet Connectome and I think I actually enjoyed that more just because I was enjoying the ballet itself rather than trying to find a story.

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Filed under Adaptation review

Raven Girl- Audrey Niffenegger


Synopsis (from amazon)

Once there was a Postman who fell in love with a Raven…

So begins the tale of a postman who encounters a fledgling raven while on the edge of his route and decides to take her home. The unlikely couple falls in love and conceives a child – an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body

Review

Raven Girl is a graphic novel by the author best known for the fantastic book The Time Traveller’s Wife. It tells the story of a man and a raven who fall in love and have a daughter, she looks like a girl, but inside she is a raven, and is stuck in a sort of hole where she can never truly be either.

Raven Girl is a strange little story, right from the premise really. It’s sort of a sweet story though, and you could almost swap the Raven Girl for anyone trying to fit in, or anyone stuck between two cultures. You can see the style of Niffenegger’s writing which you recognise from her novels- it’s style is probably closer to Her Fearful Symmetry than to The Time Traveller’s Wife- although the story itself is much more simple.

The art work (also created by Niffenegger) fits the story well. It’s a bit mismatched, a bit strange, but still quite pretty. I’m sure Niffeneger designed the pictures to be like this as her other graphic novel which I have read, The Night Bookmobile, has much more realistic pictures (see below)

Image from The Night Bookmobile Source

Image from Raven Girl Source

It’s the sort of book you want to possess as much as read, like a piece of artwork.

I found out during my search for the images above that there is a ballet of Raven Girl which is showing at the Royal Opera House in October, I think i would be quite interesting to see.

4/5

Buy it:

Hardback (£13.59)

Other Reviews:

Alison Mccarthy

Have I missed your review? Leave me a comment in links and I will add it here.

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Filed under Fiction review, Graphic Novel

Her Fearful Symmetry- Audrey Niffenegger


her fearful symmetry, audrey niffenegger, niffenegger, book, book review, twins, dark, black, dark cover, girls, cemetery,

Synopsis (from amazon)

When Elspeth Noblin dies she leaves her beautiful flat overlooking Highgate Cemetery to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina Poole, on the condition that their mother is never allowed to cross the threshold. But until the solicitor’s letter falls through the door of their suburban American home, either Julia nor Valentina knew their aunt existed. The twins hope that in London their own, separate, lives can finally begin but they 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 works in the cemetery itself.

As the twins unravel the secrets of their aunt, who doesn’t seem quite ready to leave her flat, even after death, Niffenegger weaves together a delicious and deadly ghost story about love, loss and identity.

Review
Niffenegger’s previous novel, The Time Traveller’s Wife, is one of my favourite books. When I heard that she had a new book coming out I was super excited. But then the reviews started coming in, lots of disappointment. I started to doubt whether it was a good idea to read Her Fearful Symmetry. I was worried that I would be disappointed too. So it sat on my to be read pile for years (literally- it’s been there since before I started this blog, almost 4 years ago). There were a few times that I almost picked it up, then I finally decided I would, so here we are.
Well I can’t exactly say that I was disappointed by Her Fearful Symmetry (possibly because I was prepared to be disappointed) but I didn’t fall in love with it in the same way as I did when I read The Time Traveller’s Wife.
Some early points, especially when it came to the relationship between Robert and Elspeth gave me hope. Their relationship was maybe everyday, but there was something beautiful about it. In a way it’s a shame that their relationship didn’t continue because I think love may be Niffenegger’s forte- not sure how much of a novel a continued relationship would have given.
As I got a little further in I felt that my initial interest dropped off. It took me a long time to take to the twins, and the plot felt like it was dragging its feet a little, it was mainly the descriptions of Highgate Cemetery which kept me reading.
I am glad I continued reading however. I started to become more interested in the twins- especially Valentina, and more interested in the ghost story element too.
Towards the end I couldn’t decide whether to be disturbed or riveted.  There was a certain discomfort to the plot, but at the same time I wanted to see how things turned out. My feelings for the various characters changed somewhat
(highlight for spoiler)I found I really felt pity for Valentina. She was certainly misguided, but there was also an element of her being a bit controlling. Julia seemed to be the more controlling of the two twins, but I think Valentina was quite good at manipulating people.
As for Elspeth. Well she disgusted me by the end. I didn’t really believe that she’d had no control when it came to not being able to executing Valentina’s plan. After all she could put the kitten back. I think she tried but in a half-heated way. She didn’t try to push Valentina back into her body- as with the kitten, and I’m sure she had some sense that Valentina wouldn’t be strong enough to do it alone. Maybe she hadn’t planned to take Valentina’s body when she agreed to help her, but she certainly took advantage of the situation, and I find it hard to believe that the thought wouldn’t have crossed her mind.
Ultimately I wouldn’t call Her Fearful Symmetry a ghost story- although it had ghost story elements. It was more a story of relationships and families, and I think it’s better to approach it with that in mind.
4/5
Buy it:
Paperback (£5.59)
Kindle (£5.22)
Hardback (£15.12)
Other reviews
I’m sure I’ve missed lots of reviews from this list, if your is one of them post a link in comments and I will add it here.

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Paranormal, Romantic