Again, Though Time – “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger has one of those artistic brains I’d love to get a peek at.

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.

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About JamieP

Books. Adventures. Chicago. Married. Mommy. Cat.

Posted on July 21, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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