The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife

A Novel

Book - 2003
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This novel explores the perfect marriage, one that is tested by challenges the couple can neither control nor predict. An imaginative extension of everyday life, the story asks: What if two people who loved each other deeply, married, and faced a life in which one person remained constant while the other slipped fluidly in and out of time? Clare first met her future husband, Henry, when he was 30 years her senior. However, as a result of Henry's Chrono-Displacement Disorder, when the couple married, they were only separated by eight years. Unable to stop shifting in time, Henry attempts to coup with the emotional trauma of missing and revisiting portions of his life.
Publisher: San Francisco : MacAdam/Cage Pub., c2003
ISBN: 9781931561648
1931561648
9781931561464
193156146X
9781596921535
1596921536
Characteristics: 518 p. : 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

2nd Monday Book Club Discussion: May 2019.


From the critics


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c
cjung1111
Mar 23, 2020

Beautiful.
The mechanics, albeit not perfect are understandable and coherent, something very difficult to achieve in a time-travel novel. This is done with limited focus on the science and technicalities behind Henry’s condition, but rather focuses on his humanity. Niffenegger’s ability to prevent the novel from becoming science fiction also plays her part in her ability to write a compelling novel of this size; although technicality-heavy science fiction can become easily tepid after a few hundred pages, this novel, this examination of a life is captivating despite its length.
Ultimately, Niffenegger spends 700 pages building a perfect romance, then destroys it completely. Although the end contains arguably too much foreshadowing, I think that the prolonged agony that is the result of the inevitability of human mortality is as painful as the sense of shock that would have resulted with less foreshadowing. In this way, Niffenegger writes an ultimately pessimistic existentialist novel, in which the main character, like us all know of the inevitability of death and the passage of time, but would like to deny it: “Time is meaningless”.
The two main criticisms seem to be that it is too risque, and that it advocates for determinism.
If it is too risque for your taste, I don’t know what to say. It, however, is not a children’s book, and sexual content is valid in the context of the genre, which leads me to believe that it is more a matter of personal taste and maturity than an objective problem with the book.
The book does not support determinism; there is no such reference, the only things that are portrayed as inevitable are death and the passage of time. I hope that even the most quixotic of idiots can agree to this, no?

Definitely a 5 out of 5.

a
alyshavictoriaann
Nov 27, 2019

Sweet and imaginative. Focuses more on the emotions tied to time travel, rather than the interesting subject itself. For science fiction, it was too wrapped up in "fate" for my taste. 2/5

c
CPLannie
Sep 21, 2019

...will read, again,....and again, but not sure it will be the same book.

j
jr3083
Aug 08, 2019

It's a time-travel book. I quite enjoy time-travel books that have a relationship at the heart of them until I try to explain them, and then the whole construct falls apart. It is the story of Henry, who travels back and forth through time, and his love for Clare, who would become his wife. The structure is confusing at first, with the chronology jumping back and forward, with Henry at varying ages as Clare plods through her allotted life span as Henry appears, disappears and reappears again. I often found myself having to turn back to check the date of the chapter, and there was not enough difference in tone and language between the alternating narratives of Henry and Clare. The book has many references to literature and poetry which don't really rescue it from what is often very domestic and every-day. The ending was a long time coming, with 'just one more chapter' being tacked on to the last.
See my complete review at:
https://residentjudge.com/2019/08/08/the-time-travelers-wife-by-audrey-niffenegger/

a
Amyode2
Jun 14, 2019

One of my favorite books

l
Lady_Librarian
Jan 09, 2019

This was my third time reading this book. It has been years (5+) since I last read it and my rating is going from a 5 star to a 4.5 star. There were some cringe worthy moments in the first half that made me want to re-title the book "The Time Traveler... oh yeah and his Wife." I did still really enjoy reading this book.

t
the_axolotl
Oct 21, 2018

im not crying youre crying

The characters in The Time Traveler's Wife are so intricately made so that you fall in love with them, fearing the danger that is foreshadowed. Henry and Clare's relationship, struggles, and worries are so real and described thoughtfully. I really liked how Audrey Niffenegger switched point of views every once in a while.

a
Anita_Dickey
Sep 06, 2018

I read this book to fulfil a goal read a book about time travel. it is also part of the Listopia challenge 300 books everyone should read at least once. It was a bit confusing in parts. i watched the movie too. that helped me understand the book a bit better. the book has some more detail though. the movie left out a few of my more favorite sences. i thought it was overall a good book. once you got the hang of the narritive it was a pretty interesting story.

d
deebitner
Aug 26, 2018

The first half of the book was an odd mélange of vaguely misogynistic wish-fulfillment fantasy, bad romance novel, and EW EW EW EW EW NO AGH. Henry clearly isn't appreciating Claire for who she is when she's younger, but for who she will be, and his very care about her being child makes it in-my-face squicky for me. He can't stop thinking of her as a sex object, even as a kid. GROSS. I am not at all a fan of this - he could have enjoyed knowing her as a little kid, at least. I could not get past it. I tried.

Then there's the misogyny, where she's so good at sex! And they have sex! A lot! She's the most incredible lay ever! It must be love! And flowers and valentines rain from the ceiling. I'm not a romance reader, so I'm not sure if this is par for the course - in which case I shouldn't read them - or unique to this story, but it didn't impress me at all.

The second half was a half-decent book that was torpedoed by anvil-levels of FORESHADOWING DID YOU SEE THE FORESHADOWING DID YOU HUH HUH and then had an ending that even wimped out on itself. Again, maybe my fandom is making things rough on me, but this plot didn't feel new and fresh or even old but freshly taken. It just felt routine.

Meh. I give it two stars.

g
Gryphinx
Apr 11, 2018

I really like the film, so I had high expectations for the book. Certain parts ended up being a complete slog to get through though, and I felt like the book could have been trimmed by a good hundred (or more) pages. I found myself quickly skimming over entire chapters of boring subplots, and many long winded paragraphs describing things like multiple dreams a character had that night, or entire chapters about a sculpture that is being worked on. There are still a lot of things to like though, the characters, story, and writing are all well done, and the story starts out interesting and really picks up in the last quarter or so of the book again. The film focuses on every interesting plot point, and throws out the boring subplots, so I would say I actually prefer the film to the book (heresey, I know).

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Age

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c
cjung1111
Mar 23, 2020

cjung1111 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

t
the_axolotl
Oct 21, 2018

the_axolotl thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

v
VV12
Oct 19, 2015

VV12 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

m
MistyBlue22
Mar 31, 2013

MistyBlue22 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

r3ader4ever Feb 21, 2012

r3ader4ever thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

ClaireThomason Dec 17, 2011

ClaireThomason thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

f
FireyXin
Jul 25, 2011

FireyXin thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

m
mbazal
May 09, 2010

mbazal thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Notices

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ClaireThomason Dec 17, 2011

Other: The book takes your heart, makes it all warm and fuzzy, and grinds it under it's heel.

ClaireThomason Dec 17, 2011

Sexual Content: A bit of sexual content, but it's always pretty tame in that regard.

ClaireThomason Dec 17, 2011

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Ingrid commits suicide.

m
mbazal
May 09, 2010

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

m
mbazal
May 09, 2010

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

k
Ketly
Mar 19, 2008

Violence: This title contains Violence.

k
Ketly
Mar 19, 2008

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

k
Ketly
Mar 19, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Quotes

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kateygrange Jun 17, 2011

"I wish for a moment that time would lift me out of this day, and into some more benign one. But then I feel guilty for wanting to avoid the sadness; dead people need us to remember them, even if it eats us, even if all we can do is say "I'm sorry" until it is as meaningless air."

m
mbazal
May 09, 2010

"We laugh and laugh, and nothing can ever be sad, no one can be lost, or dead, or far away: right now we are here, and nothing can mar our perfection, or steal the joy of this perfect moment."

Summary

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m
mbazal
May 09, 2010

When Henry meets Clare, he is twenty-eight and she is twenty. Henry has never met Clare before; Clare has known Henry since she was six. Impossible but true, because Henry finds himself periodically displaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. Henry and Clare's attempts to live normal lives are threatened by a force that they can neither prevent nor control, making their passionate love story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable. The Time Traveler's Wife is a story of fate, hope and belief, and more than that, it's about the power of love to endure beyond the bounds of time.

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