Staying up until 3 in the morning is something that very few select things can make me do. Watching back to back episodes of Lost or True Blood is one. Reading Audrey Niffenegger is another. I LOVED The Time Traveler's Wife with such passion. Immediately you loved, cared for, and were so anxious for her characters. The story had just the right amount of romance so that it's not "chick lit" but actually fits into the mystery/drama/thriller genre. I have followed Niffenegger's published works including her two somewhat alternative illustrated books (think children's books with adult themes). When Her Fearful Symmetry came out, I ran out and got it immediately. This happens to be what kept me awake last night until 3. Although much different than Time Traveler, Symmetry still carried her gift of character and mood writing. The major difference this time is that there are more main characters, and of which she exposes more. This is one of the first books that I was so interested in the characters without actually knowing if I liked them. They were very realistic people : selfish, emotional, flawed. I'm not sure that I am on board with every plot twist in the book, but all in all, it's a great read.
Her Fearful Symmetry took place in Lake Forest, Illinois and mostly London. It was one of those books that gave directional details and store names without explaining what they are. So if you've never been to London, you'd miss quite a few details. I love these details cause it's nostalgic to me. Sometimes I go back and forth as to how much of this is necessary. An author who uses location as a character of the story is Neil Gaiman. He uses London in Neverwhere (my favorite book of his) and the midwest in American Gods. He gives the locations an appropriate importance to the story, so that they're not just mentioned, and they're not explained to death. I believe that Audrey is getting there...as an American author, she did admit to having help with her English slang, as most of the characters were English. So at times, it did seem a little forced, but it helped paint the atmosphere for me. I'd be curious to hear what someone who hasn't been there thinks about the subject? Does it enhance the story? Or are they just added nonsense?