06 January 2008
"The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Part of a series?: No
Genre: Literary romance
Format: Paperback borrowed from library
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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is a story about waiting. It tells the tale of Henry and Clare. Henry is a librarian with a punk-rock sensibility and Clare is a beautiful art student. Clare has known that she was going to marry Henry practically all her life, despite the fact that Henry doesn't meet her until he is 28. That's because Henry has been traveling from their future to meet with her since she was six. Since Clare has a sense of what is to come, she spends most of her life waiting for it. There is the excitement that comes with anticipation, but there is also sadness.
The title would suggest that it is science fiction, but it is more of a romance novel than a sci-fi one. Very few pages are spent on the mechanics of how Henry is able to travel through time. The true heart of the story is how it feels to be separated from your loved ones or to be the one always left behind. This is not the type of book where there is a problem presented in the beginning and you keep reading to find out how the hero solves it in the end. This novel is more like a scrapbook showing stages of Henry and Clare's lives, apart and together.
How did I like the book? About two-thirds of the way through, I knew that I wasn't going to be happy with the ending but I felt compelled to keep reading. I tend to shy away from books that are suffused with such an air of melancholy. However, there were beautiful moments in between the sad ones that were my reward for sticking with it. Every woman needs to read a weeper once in a while, and I would put this one at the top of the list.