Tuesday, 6 December 2011

96. "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger

Publisher: Vintage
Page count: 528 pages
Date begun: November 21st, 2011
Date finished: November 24th, 2011

Clare is 6 when she meets Henry for the first time, he is 36. Henry is 28 when he meets Clare for the first time, she is 20. Henry is a time traveller. Not in a cool Doctor Who sort of way, where he can travel where ever he wants in time and space. He keeps finding himself thrown either forward or backwards in his own lifetime, always ending up naked, and can stay in the other time for a few seconds, or several days, depending on circumstance.

Hence Clare is delighted when she finally runs into Henry at the library where he works. He's younger than she has ever seen him, she's known him and met with him countless times over the years, growing up. He gives her a list of all the dates when he will appear in the meadow behind her parents' house, so she can have clothes waiting for him in the woods. He helps her with her homework, listens to her troubles, even helps her get back at a douchy boy who hurt her, trying not to reveal to her too early (worried that he will warp her childhood irreparably) that in his present, she is his beloved wife.

The Time Traveler's Wife is obviously not a narrative with a linear plot, it jumps around a LOT. Sometimes there is more than one Henry in the story at the same time. Henry learns all the useful tricks and survival tactics he needs to get by from an older version of himself. I adore this book. I loved it the first time I read it, years and years ago, and decided to reread it to blog it for Cannonball Read. It's still great.

I don't care if the time travel plot device doesn't appeal to some readers, or that it may not consistently make sense within the narrative (a criticism I've read several places). I don't really care WHY or HOW Henry time travels, the important part is the beautiful portrayal of Henry and Clare and their heart breaking and wonderful love story. The first time I read the book, I cried buckets. This time, I managed to get by with just a sniffle, but the ending still gets me. Read the book, avoid the film adaptation like the plague. It sucks, and is just awful.

2 comments:

  1. What I love about this book, is the romantic concept that Henry and Clare were MEANT for each other. Clare would have never sought out Henry as an adult if she did not fall in love with him growing up, and Henry would not have visited Clare as a child if he did not fall in love with her as an adult. Its like a circle, and you never know where it begins! Of course, if you analyse it too thoroughly you will find gaps in the logic, but that's not what this book is about. It's about how the fantastical can become the real.

    I disagree about the film by the way. I loved it! When I re-read the novel, I know imagine the characters as Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams :)

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  2. This is my favourite book of all time. I only read it because I watched the film first so I'm really glad that the film was made so that I could be introduced to the book. It's just magical how Henry and Clare meet and I love that you have to constantly think about the time and ages of the characters... it makes it so unique from other books out there!

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