Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Different Wrinkle in Time

The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger.

Love is worth waiting for.

Time is relative.

What's in the past is past.

There are some things we cannot prevent.

We all must work with what we are given.

There are lots of messages singing out in these pages. Clare is married to Henry, a man who literally cannot keep himself in the present and who she meets at first as a child, when he is middle-aged, and then when she's an adult, when Henry is much closer to her age. The story is told from both of their points of view, and of course it jumps around in time, cleverly foreshadowing certain events and revisiting them from a different point of view.

Does Audrey Niffenegger succeed in making the story plausible? At first, I thought that this would be the most important question, but actually, I got so caught up in the story that I was willing to accept the fact that Henry had a genetic condition called Chrono-Displacement Disorder. IF that existed, how would one cope with being suddenly ripped out of the present and thrown into the past or future? In addition to his absences from his present, Henry also faces real dangers when he time travels, since there is no telling where he will be thrown and he always arrives with absolutely no essentials--not even clothing. He learns to live by his wits, something that gets harder and harder. Henry and Clare's relationship is strong, but challenged. So are other aspects of their lives.

I felt sorry for both Clare and Henry throughout the book. Meeting Henry when she's a child affects Clare's entire life, so it seems as if she's always waiting for Henry. It is a creatively poignant love story.

And that's all I'll say, except that I found it to be an intriguing page-turner, and I can certainly see why it's been so popular.


Doug said...

Is it harder to get thrown into the future or the past?

Ariel the Thief said...

Your review makes me want to read the book. It is easy to spoil a story like that. I'm curious to know what she did to it. :-)

actonbell said...

Doug-I think it was depicted as being equally happy and sad--it depends.

Ariel--I had no idea what to expect from this, and it's hard to predict what others will enjoy about it.

TLP said...

Thanks for lending it to me! I loved it! I've read it twice now. I was checking for mistakes the second time. Sort of like watching The Sixth Sense the second time.

It is a sad book in many ways, but also funny and fun. I recommend it highly, and I thank you for your review.