Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Time Traveler's Wife

by Audrey Niffenegger. Gorgeous book.
Essentially it's a love story, which is not normally my cup of tea. It's the story of Clare, firmly in the here and now, and Henry, the time traveler. He has a genetic disorder which causes him to flit back and forth in time. However, he only ever visits his own lifetime, doesn't travel to the distant past or future. Chronologically, the book more or less follows Clare's life from the age of six, when she first meets Henry who is aged 36 at the time. They eventually get married when Clare is 22 and Henry 30. Each "chapter" is titled with the date and the ages of Clare and Henry. The writing is first-person present tense. Sometimes the first person is Clare, sometimes it's Henry. I think it takes an very talented writer to produce a story in a particular voice, rather than just as a narrative. To produce it in two voices takes extraordinary talent.
There are various philosophical undercurrents throughout the book - particularly the concept of free will versus determinism. When Henry is travelling is he really free to do as he chooses or must he stick to the script, so to speak? One thing he does do is hand out some advice on stocks and shares and lottery ticket numbers :). Another theme is how people deal with loss of loved ones. Genetic engineering is another. I won't say more on those as it would give away too much of the story.
All in all I loved this book. It's beautifully written, tender, funny, poignant, scary, sad.
Very highly recommended.


Janet said...

I enjoyed this book as well :-)

Shirl said...

haven't read it yet, but now I will! Thanks for the review!

Maribeth said...

I loved this book and have, in fact, read it twice!

Kwizgiver said...

This is one of my faves, as well!