By Claude Peck
For a ghost story involving twins, maybe it’s only fitting to see two reviews in the same newspaper. But the New York Times’ twin takes on bestselling novelist Audrey Niffenegger’s new book are far from identical. First came Michiko Kakutani’s Sept. 21 critique, in which “Her Fearful Symmetry” was taken down as if by a certified ghostbuster. Kakutani dismissed the book as “clumsy,” “hokey” and “contrived,” scoring it for its “formulaic adherence to old genre conventions.” But wait. The Times’ Sunday Book Review called Niffenegger’s latest “bewitching,” “beguiling,” “mature, complex and convincing.” Critic Susann Cokal said the book “rises above concept and into the heady air of artistry.” How could both be correct? Perhaps the answer will be revealed when Niffenegger visits the Twin Cities Nov. 18 as part of the Talking Volumes series. Or: Damn the critics, and full read ahead.
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