Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare's passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger's cinematic storytelling that makes the novel's unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

An enchanting debut and a spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love, The Time Traveler's Wife is destined to captivate readers for years to come. (from GoodReads)

I first wanted to read this book after seeing that it was being made into a movie. That was back in 2009 and I still haven't seen the movie because I wanted to read the book first! After finally picking up The Time Traveler's Wife, it's funny to see how different it was from what I expected!

I was expecting a romance, which is what I got, but I was also expecting Henry to be time traveling more. The movie made it look like he time traveled and his relationship with Clare was based on these infrequent meetings. However, Clare and Henry (once they meet in present day) spend a lot of time together. Henry time travels only every so often, usually when he's stressed, and is only gone for a few hours most of the time. It's not quite the romantic tragedy I was expecting. It's tragic for Henry because he's in constant danger when he time travels since he ends up naked in random places. He has no clothes, money or shelter so it's definitely horrible for him. But Clare only has to be without Henry for a little bit at a time so it was hard to feel really bad for her.

I also didn't know that Clare has been meeting with Henry since she was a little girl. At first it was kind of creepy, but it's older Henry visiting little Clare and he's already married to her. So when Clare finally meets up with the real Henry in present day he doesn't know her because his future self was the one visiting her. It's pretty confusing and I didn't understand how the time traveling worked in the beginning.

Time travel is always tricky to write about because it never makes any sense. I thought that Audrey Niffenegger did a pretty good job of conceptualizing time travel for this novel. When one goes to the past, he or she can't change anything so that prevents the universe from getting messed up. You can also visit yourself which is weird but pretty cool.

I thought that storytelling style was very unique, especially since events are written out of order. It allows a different perspective because some events have more clarity once Henry time travels to that place again. I liked that the book differentiated between Henry and Clare, but I wish their voices were more distinctive. I couldn't tell the difference between them and was constantly looking at the title to see who was narrating.

There was a lot of description in The Time Traveler's Wife, some was good and some was bad. I found myself skimming pages of exposition. This novel is so detailed and full of depth that it was almost too much. I actually forgot who some of the characters were (who is Isabelle?? she shows up at the end and I can't for the life of me remember who she is).

I kind of have mixed feelings about The Time Traveler's Wife, but overall I enjoyed the book. I probably won't ever read it again but I do want to watch the movie now. If you like long and finely detailed novels then this is probably the book for you.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.

2003/MacAdamCage Pub/528 pages.

1 comment:

Kristan Sarah Stephanie Ingrid said...

Just FYI, the movie definitely truncates the book. You might enjoy it more for that reason. Although we always always always recommend that people put a bit of time/distance between the book and the movie, so that they're not comparing TOO much (and inevitably being disappointed). ;P