Daily Archives: July 21, 2011
Her book, “Her Fearful Symmetry,” is one of the most hauntingly gorgeous pieces of literature I’ve ever read. Yet somehow it wasn’t until very recently that I picked up her debut novel and most famous work – “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” (Also known as the book everyone and their mother was reading on the bus and the train a few years back.)
Sure enough, “The Time Traveler’s Wife” is a compelling, magical, and yet totally believable story about an unbelievable circumstance. A man (Henry) travels through time, though not by choice. He can be at a holiday party and simply vanish, then reappear seven years later in a field miles away. While traveling, he even meets up with future and past versions of himself. Complicating Henry’s already complicated life is a woman named Clare, whom he loves. The two lovers meet up through the years, and build a life together despite Clare’s never knowing if Henry will be there when she wakes up. Both characters are endearing and well-developed, and their tragic romance makes for one hell of a read.
Rather than explaining the time travel as magic, Henry’s condition is scientific – a rare chromosomal disorder. When Clare and Henry decide to have a baby, Clare must suffer through multiple miscarriages because their child will have the same chromosomal disorder – and so the fetus simply vanishes. It’s these elements that keep the book from venturing into melodrama. Part sci-fi and part love story, the book is more along the lines of something Margaret Atwood would cook up than a traditional “chick” novel. It’s really smart, and somehow completely realistic. It’s like “Doctor Who” without the whole science-fiction angle and the aliens. You absolutely buy that this could happen.
“The Time Traveler’s Wife” is an awesome book. If you’re looking for a piece of fiction that you’ll be unable to put down, and be thinking about long after you’ve finished, this is the book you’re looking for.