Book Review

Book Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Title: The Time Traveler’s WifeBook Review - The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Author: Audrey Niffenegger

Publisher: MacAdam/Cage

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

First Publication: 2003

Language: English

Major Characters: Henry DeTamble, Clare Abshire, Gomez, Charisse, Richard DeTamble, Alicia Abshire, Mark Abshire, Philip Abshire, Lucille Abshire, Mrs. Kim, Alba DeTamble, Ingrid Carmichael, Celia Attley, Dr. David Kendrick

Setting Place: Chicago, Illinois (United States)

Theme: Love, Time, Fate Vs Free Will, Family, Memory and the Past, Versions of Reality

Narrator: First person


Book Summary: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one.

Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler’s Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare’s marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view.

Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals–steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.


Book Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is one of those stories that pulls you into the characters’ lives and leaves you wanting more, mulling over the scenes and premise for days after you’ve reluctantly turned the last page. Rarely is such an original idea portrayed with such vivid language so you believe the time travel possibility and the characters are almost people you know.

“Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?”

It is about a guy who involuntarily travels time. He can never predict where or when he will jump the time/space continuum, but when he does, he is drawn toward significant events and people in his life. The science fiction is a medium for a love story, not a cheesy or unrealistic one, but a deep enduring love in for the long haul of life and hardship, told from both his and her perspective, and how time travel affects their lives and relationship.

“Love the world and yourself in it, move through it as though it offers no resistance, as though the world is your natural element.”

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger starts when Henry meets Claire for the first time and she is ecstatic to finally have found the love of her life in the present. Henry must get to know this stranger introduced to him as his future wife and Claire has to nurture him into the man she loves.

As you relive scenes from Claire’s past and Henry’s future you see how they fall in love, at different times with someone already madly in love with them, and conquer the challenge of his disorder. Because their relationship is non-chronological, you discover events out of order–as do they–making the story interesting and leaving you with the same sense of longing the characters feel.

“Time is priceless, but it’s Free. You can’t own it, you can use it. You can spend it. But you can’t keep it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”

I thought the odd age difference, Henry playing father figure to the girl who will be his wife, was handled well, as was the delve into both Henry’s and Claire’s minds and emotions (although I wish their voices differed more) to get a better grasp of how this condition would affect normal life. I really cared about these characters.

Henry trying to protect Claire and Claire left wanting. In one scene she is racing to meet him after a prolonged absence and he fades before she can reach him. I felt for her, what she had to sacrifice to revolve and dedicate her life to him. Some of the minor characters strange and distracting, but overall the story is powerful and vivid.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger has great flawed characters and actually moving secondary characters; fantastic scientific and emotional plot; fine setting; beautiful writing. The writing was believable to a point that I felt it was a diary – Clare and Henry’s thoughts and feelings were so raw and powerful and completely relatable. Everything was all tied together perfectly.


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