Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Audrey Niffenegger Rolls the Dice Again

Have you wondered for the last few years , like me, what happened to Audrey Niffenegger? Hard as it is to believe, it has already been six years since the huge, come-from-nowhere, splash she made with The Time Traveler's Wife.

Well, according to a Saturday New York Times article, Niffenegger, an artist and "faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, Center for Book and Paper Arts" is back, and she is back in a big way with a near $5 million advance from Scribner for her second novel:
The book (Her Fearful Symmetry) is a supernatural story about twins who inherit an apartment near a London cemetery and become embroiled in the lives of the building’s other residents and the ghost of their aunt, who left them the flat.

The auction for Ms. Niffenegger’s second novel involved several large New York publishing houses, as well as the original hardcover publisher of “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” MacAdam/Cage, the San Francisco-based independent, and the publisher that holds paperback rights to the first novel, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
As publishers seek sure bets, Ms. Niffenegger’s new novel attracted widespread interest. But second novels can be risky. Charles Frazier, the author of “Cold Mountain,” for example, received an $8 million advance for his second book, “Thirteen Moons,” but it did not sell as well as his first.

“There are going to be people coming to the book with claws out,” said Joe Regal, Ms. Niffenegger’s agent. “That’s just reality.
I have to admit that the plot description of this one does not appeal to me nearly to the degree that The Time Traveler's Wife sucked me in. But, who knows? Niffenegger's first novel was so much fun that I'm hoping that she's done it again, for her sake - and, more selfishly, for mine.


  1. I completely agree with you on the description of the plot for the new novel, but I too have high hopes that Niffenger's gifts as a writer will make it a terrific book. I am looking forward to it.

  2. It's hard when your first one is so good. Look what happened to M. Night Shyamalan with all the expectations he faced after Sixth Sense. I know I will be looking forward to another book from her. But the pressure on her must be terrible!

  3. I think she did a graphic novel or somehting like that right after TTTW. We are reading TTTW for book group in April. I'm looking forward to the second novel.

  4. The new plot doesn't grab my interest, but I enjoyed her first book so much I might pick it up just to see how it's written. I won't be one of those with "claws out" though, I'll wait patiently until it shows up at the library.

  5. Alissa, based on her remarkable first book, I have to believe that she will give that basic plot a special twist to make it all her own...hope so, anyway.

  6. Rhapsody, I thought the same thing when I first read the news about this new one. In baseball they call it the "sophomore jinx" that hits last year's rookies who had great seasons. And, more times than not, the jinx gets those kids. I hope there's no such jinx in the literary world.

  7. I didn't know about the graphic novel, Bybee, but that makes lots of sense because of her art background. I think your book club should really enjoy the first one...let me know.

  8. Me, too, Jeanne. I can barely keep up with my TBR list as it is and seldom rush out to buy a hardcover immediately upon its release anymore because when I do that the new one never seems to get read right away anyhow.