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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey…
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The Time Traveler's Wife (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Audrey Niffenegger

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
32,593112923 (4.12)1104
Member:AdonisGuilfoyle
Title:The Time Traveler's Wife
Authors:Audrey Niffenegger
Info:Jonathan Cape Ltd (2004), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 518 pages
Collections:Your library, Read in 2012 (inactive)
Rating:*****
Tags:2012, read but unowned

Work details

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (2003)

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Showing 1-5 of 1090 (next | show all)
I think I can reasonably say The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my favorite movies of the last ten years. If you read my own writing, you might notice I have a thing for well-done age differences in relationships, modern time travel romance, and especially, the idea of meeting your soulmate young. But I was hesitant to read this book. Why? I don’t typically read adult fiction, and when I do, I rarely enjoy it. But I bought this book at our local library book sale a couple of years ago, and it eventually made its way into my to-read pile. I decided it was finally time to see how the book compared to the movie.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is told through the points of view of Henry DeTamble, a man who spontaneously travels in time, and Clare Abshire, the woman who will eventually be his wife. Clare meets Henry for the first time when she is six-years-old in The Meadow behind her parents’ home, and continues to meet with him there 151 more times as she grows from a child into a young woman, falling in love with him pretty early on. Henry, however, meets Clare for the first time when he is twenty-eight and she is twenty. She tells him about her past (his future) and the future together that older Henry had eventually told her about. This is where the book begins, and it follows these two characters back and forth in time through their life together.

I loved being able to see more of Henry and Clare together through the book. How their relationship moved through her childhood and into her teens and the ways it shifted over that. How he became more open with her and affectionate, but still drew a line of how far things should go. I love the idea of two people being so intertwined. Soulmates. To continue to watch their triumphs and tragedies play out over their lives was fascinating and something I don’t normally see in my preferred genre.

Unlike other adult fiction I’ve read, even when I didn’t personally relate to what they were going through, I almost always still felt connected to their joy and pain. The writing also flowed very well, I feel, in comparison to other adult fiction I’ve read, which often seems distant from the emotional core of the story and more concerned with describing things in as much detail as possible than actually using their words to say something meaningful. Occasionally, Henry and Clare’s references to classic art, poetry, and fiction lost me. But that’s mostly my own shortcoming. My point is that the emotional heart of this book stayed very central and didn’t get lost in the technical nature of writing a complicated time travel story. I don’t feel that a reader would need to have any interest in Sci-Fi or Fantasy to enjoy this book.

I guess the main problem I have with this book is that I just didn’t like young Henry. By that, I mean teenager/early twenties Henry. I get that he’s supposed to be sort of lost, which sometimes results in heavy drinking, drugs, and meaningless sexual encounters, but I just don’t enjoy reading about that. I think the author was trying to make Henry a realistic average young man, but some of the ways she tried to express that were flat-out unnecessary, in my opinion. To be frank, I didn’t always care about Henry’s personal journey. I cared about his relationship with Clare. And I cared about Clare’s journey, because her sense of knowing what she wanted from a young age is far more relatable to me.

I guess it frustrates me that you always see stories where the girl is the one waiting and the guy has had lots of sexual experience, mostly without any real meaning attached to it. Yes, I get it, Henry - very few people meet their soulmates at age six. And isn’t it romantic that a guy who’s very lost finds a reason to change and become a better person through a relationship? Maybe. But I’ve seen that many times before, and it doesn’t speak to me the way it used to. It was painful to me on a personal level to watch Clare have to deal with the fact that the guy she was actually in a relationship with was not quite the guy she fell in love with. Yet.

Still, that problem only existed in a small portion of the book, and there were enough wonderful interactions between young Clare and older Henry to keep me captivated through it. Regardless of my issues with the “realism” of certain sexual encounters throughout the book, I adore the love story of Clare and Henry. I loved it from the moment I started reading the book, and while I was influenced by my love of the movie, I feel like I would have loved it anyway. Rewatching the movie right after finishing the book, I also found the movie to be an excellent adaptation, and from the interviews on the DVD, I believe it was because everyone involved was trying to bring as much of the book through as possible. And it showed. So even if my affinity for Clare and Henry’s story didn’t start with the book, I believe it was influenced by it every step of the way.

I had a very strong reaction to this book, both positive and negative. But for the most part, I’d say the positive won out. It hits some triggers, but it also fulfills some positive quirks. I guess you could say even the parts that bothered me affected me so much because I was so personally invested in this story. And it’s the kind of story you’re just not going to find anywhere else. ( )
  fireflys_locket | Apr 25, 2017 |
This book was beyond amazing! To track so many parallel worlds without losing the reader and the ability to draw you into each one and delve so deeply into each character simply amazed me. A book about love, time travel, soul mates destined to be together, family and endurance. Of finding a glimmer of hope for oneself and one's loved ones. For carrying on despite everything. ( )
  lwillis1 | Apr 17, 2017 |
For a long time I hated this book on principle and didn't want to read it. Aside from having very little interest in romance, I disliked the "____'s wife/daughter" trend for always placing women second and in a strict role (and accuse this book of perpetuating that titling trend), and I hated that it was successful because I always hate when there are successful books I don't think merit it. But I hadn't read it. And for a long time I thought I never would, and thought I had a sense of it, but then I was also aware of people I know who appreciated it a lot, and it seemed to endure through the past 15 years, still frequently assigned to book clubs, and I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about. And after starting my year with the indulgent [book:Mariana|961833], I thought why not another romance? Why not something with a strong sense of story to unwind with after a day of work?

I read it over the course of a week and it was interesting and it knew what it was about, but I cared so little for Clare or Henry. And it's odd, because I am a nearly 28-year-old punk librarian person, and the musical references were all good and the book references were all great, but it was sort of terrible because every time they'd mention Blake or Rilke or whoever I'd just wish I was reading that instead of this. Niffenegger even title-drops my heartsong, [book:À rebours|1312641], but talking about better works isn't the way to a great book.

I think the plot works well to sustain a story of romance, because the big catch 22 of writing romances is that you can't just have the couple together all the time, there has to be conflict. For a resolution/unification to be successful, there has to be separation. It's why romances cut off when the couple gets together, because we the separation is what makes the reunion so cathartic. We're interested in attaining the happiness, but not in watching it play out for hundreds of pages more. However I'll credit Niffenegger that the temporal disconnect manages to sustain that much-needed separation and make a relationship between two people fodder enough for an entire novel.

I'm on the fence over whether to give [book:Her Fearful Symmetry|6202342] a try, which goes to show I didn't find this quite a hopeless case. ( )
1 vote likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Great book. Funny - sad - heartwarming - all around a great book.

Very interesting concept of time traveling person. The reader gets his perspective as well as his wife's.

About love - sacrifices - hardships - family -friends - getting left behind - waiting - patience. ( )
  BooksForTheLiving | Mar 20, 2017 |
I enjoyed it. It switched narrator depending on the point of view. Because I listened to this on a play away I couldn't see how much time was left, so I kept thinking it must be almost done, but it would keep going.
  nx74defiant | Mar 2, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 1090 (next | show all)
Um, I don't say this very often but I could NOT finish this book. I originally chose it as my 'April Book of the Month' because I was challenged to read a book that has been sitting on my 'to-read' list for WAY TOO LONG and also one that I had tried to read before but didn't get through. Feeling like I hadn't given this book a fair chance, it seemed like a no-brainer choice. However... it just isn't a book for me. I made it MUCH further than I have in the past (approx. 200 pages) but the fact that I am not 'craving' the read that I normally do, I know that I am done. This book will be entered into the vault, never to be seen again (at least by these eyes).

I'm sad to add a book to the 'couldn't finish' list, but... life is too short to read something I am not enjoying!!
 
The triumph of the book is the triumph of normality, of setting up a decent family life even if you are constantly dissappearing from it, of being loyal to somebody with what Niffenegger finally explains as a genetic dysfunction - chrono-displacement, as she calls it.
added by mikeg2 | editThe guardian, Natasha Walter (Jan 31, 2004)
 
"The Time Traveler's Wife" can be an exasperating read, but as a love story it has its appeal: Refreshingly, the novel portrays long-term commitment as something lively and exuberant rather than dutiful and staid, evoking both the comforts it brings us and the tribulations we learn to live with.
 
Niffenegger, despite her moving, razor-edged prose, doesn't claim to be a romantic. She writes with the unflinching yet detached clarity of a war correspondent standing at the sidelines of an unfolding battle. She possesses a historian's eye for contextual detail. This is no romantic idyll.
added by Shortride | editUSA Today, Kathy Balog (Sep 24, 2003)
 
About halfway through Audrey Niffenegger's debut novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, you realize you're going to be devastated. You love the characters, you're deeply involved in their lives, you can sense tragedy coming and you know it's going to hurt. But there's no way you can stop reading... Niffenegger structures the novel clearly enough that the timelines never get tangled, and her writing is so strong you'd keep going even if you did get confused.
added by Shortride | editBookPage, Becky Ohlsen (Sep 1, 2003)
 

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Audrey Niffeneggerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hope, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lefkow, LaurelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swahn, Sven ChristerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Important events
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Epigraph
Clock time is our bank manager,
tax collector, police inspector;
this inner time is our wife.

— J. B. PRIESTLEY,
Man and Time
Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

—DEREK WALCOTT
Oh not because happiness exists,
that too-hasty profit snatched from approaching loss.
But because truly being here is so much; because everything here apparently needs us, this fleeting world, in which some strange way keeps calling us. Us, the most fleeting of all.
. . . Ah, but what can we take along
into that other real? Not the art of looking,
which is learned so slowly, and nothing that happened here. Nothing.
The sufferings, then. And, above all, the heaviness,
and the long experience of love,—just what is wholly
unsayable.

—from The Ninth Duino Elegy, RAINER MARIA RILKE,
translated by STEPHEN MITCHELL
Dedication
For

Elizabeth Hillman Tamandl
May 20, 1915-December 18, 1986

And

Norbert Charles Tamandl
February 11, 1915-May 23, 1957
First words
PROLOGUE

Clare:
It's hard being left behind.
FIRST DATE, ONE
Saturday, October 26, 1991 (Henry is 28, Clare is 20)

Clare: The library is cool and smells like carpet cleaner, although all I can see is marble.
Quotations
Henry: I didn't know you were coming or I'd have cleaned up a little more. My life, I mean, not just the apartment.
I imagined my mother laughing at me, her well-plucked eyebrows raised high at the sight of her half-Jewish son marooned in the midst of Christmas in Goyland.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
The Time Traveler's Wife is an unconventional love story that centers on a man with a strange genetic disorder that causes him to unpredictably time travel, and his wife, an artist who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 015602943X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:46 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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2 editions of this book were published by HighBridge.

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Editions: 161174430X, 1622319095

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