I’m pretty far behind the curve on reviewing this book, which was a best seller a few years ago. However, I never really had it on my radar until Boyfriend bought it for me for my birthday on Tuesday. In his card he said he thought it was a book I would like, and he was definitely right. I loved this book. Although there were many things I could write about, I think I was so enthralled with it because it grabbed me in two different ways — the book is both a heartbreaking love story and complexly crafted narrative that left me asking for more in all respects.
The Time Traveler’s Wife is the love story of Henry, a librarian, and his wife Clare, an artist. Henry has a rare genetic disorder, Chrono-Displacement Disorder, that causes him to time travel randomly. Clare meets Henry for the first time when he time travels back to 1977 when she is 6 and he is 36. However, Henry meets Clare for the first time in 1991 when he’s 28 and she is 20. Over the course of the novel, Henry and Clare grow to know each other all over again and we see how they grow into each other and deal with the complications Henry’s time traveling causes.
One aspect of the book I found fascinating with the opposition Niffenegger creates between Clare and Henry. Clare is always waiting — as a child she waits for Henry to arrive, as a young woman she waits for the time when she will meet Henry in real time, and as an adult she waits for Henry while he disappears to time travel. She also spends almost the entire novel waiting for him to grown into the man she fell in love with as a child. In contrast, Henry is always moving. He obviously is always moving through time, but there are also constant references to Henry’s compulsive need to run, to keep going, to always be in motion.
In many ways, I think Henry and Clare’s traits — to wait or to move — mirror my experience of reading the book. The narrative time is constantly switching, which kept me moving and on my toes. I always had to be aware of who was talking, when they were speaking from, and what experiences had or hadn’t happened yet. On the other hand, I also spent the book waiting. I got this impending sense of tragedy almost the minute I started reading, and spent the rest of the book waiting to see how things were going to work out. I hadn’t really thought about this much before, but it’s a really, really cool technique for the book!
There are a lot more things I could say about how much I loved this book, but I think it would just get repetitive and boring. I’ll just say that I highly recommend reading this book. I was entranced with it, I could hardly put it down, and I spent the last part of the book crying, I mean really sobbing, because it’s just so beautiful and so sad.
Links to Enjoy:
- Meet the Author: Audrey Niffenegger — an online interview with the author
- The Time Traveler’s Wife on IMDB (coming December 2008 )
- Read the prologue of the novel at About.com
- “Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” — David Abrams of January Magazine reviews the novel
If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!