Review No.139 – The Time Traveller’s Wife

The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

Harcourt, Inc., 2004

Clare met Henry for the first time when she was six years old. He told her then that he was a time traveller; a man who, through some accident of genetics, would be abruptly and involuntarily transported into other times and places. He told her he would come back, and he always did. It has been two years since Clare saw him, and when she meets him again she knows everything is about to begin – the life she always knew she was heading towards, promised in snatches of accidental prophecy. The only thing is, Henry has not yet met her. When the past and future are woven into such terrible knots, the most certain things in the world might be the hardest to keep.

The Time Traveller’s Wife is beautifully written, rich with incidental detail that layers depth into all its characters and most of all into its central lovers, Clare and Henry. The structure of the story is unusual; it requires careful reading to follow the convoluted time streams of an extraordinarily strange relationship. The idea of time travel as a genetic disorder, something akin to epilepsy, is bizarre and brilliant and very consistently crafted. This is Niffenegger’s first book – her more recent works include the dreamlike modern fairy tale Raven Girl and a second novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, which is now waiting on my To Read list.

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