Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, part one


A dazzling novel in the most nontraditional 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.

I'm going to be doing this review in sections... I'm reading several books right now, as I seem to have book commitment issues. So far, I'm about 150 pages in, and I'm really loving this book. It starts out with Clare and Henry describing what Henry's involuntary time travel is like for each of them. After that, it gotten to be fairly chronological. For Clare, anyway. She meets Henry at the tender age of six... Time traveler Henry is 36 (I believe). It mainly begins following Clare's encounters with Henry throughout this time, until they meet at the respective ages of 20 and 28 (Henry is a bit older than Clare). The author makes it very clear when its "Time Traver Henry" and just regular Henry, as he seems to pop up quite a bit as Time Traveler Henry (heretofore known as TT Henry).

One thing that is interesting to see is the relationship between TT Henry and Clare as Clare gets older. Clare falls in love with Henry at this point, and Henry is married to Clare in his future. Which creates almost a love triangle, but not quite (I'm sure I'll discover later whether or not this actually becomes an issue between regular Henry and regular Clare). When he is TT Henry with past (late-teens) Clare, they both refer to him as her boyfriend, which is slightly odd as he's married to her in his present. As far as I can tell, nothing scandalous happens between TT Henry and teenage Clare, other than a kiss.

Another interesting fact is that Henry refuses to tell Clare anything about himself that might help her find him, both in the present and the future. She never knows his last name, where he's from, date of birth, what he does, anything personal like that until they meet up in the present. I'm not sure if this has something to do with how he can never change things that happened in the past (for some reason he travels back to the car crash that killed his mother when he was just a boy, and he can never do anything to save her, no matter how early he gets there).

So far, its interesting to see the point in both Clare's and Henry's lives when they are both getting to know each other. Clare, of course, knows the older Henry from all of his travels to see her in their meadow. Henry has no idea who she is, other than this gorgeous young woman enamored by him, and somehow in love with him even though according to him they haven't met (they won't until he's older).

Henry is somewhat a mess when Clare meets him. He has no one to talk to or confide in about his time travels, as anyone would think he's crazy. But he gains that with Clare, which, from where I am in the book, is starting to help him get his life back on track...

I will write again once I've finished the book, but wanted to write some now because I always manage to leave out the good stuff! In the meantime, you should pick up a copy or download it for free from this site.

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