Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
Typically the time travel novels I am most drawn to send a contemporary character back (or less often forward) in time to some interesting historical era where that character has to cope with differences in culture and lifestyle while trying to accomplish some kind of quest--even if it’s just to get back home--allowing me to effortlessly glean fascinating insights about a time gone by. The Time Traveler’s Wife, of course, is nothing like this and yet it is maybe my favorite book in the genre. Henry, a punk music loving librarian, and Clare, an artist who creates large sculptures of paper, are people I would love to read about in any story, and I enjoy almost as much the rich cast of well-drawn supporting characters, many of whom could probably star in their own books.
It’s Henry who is jolted around in time, and it’s just as brutal as it sounds because he is abruptly jerked from wherever he is and dropped naked somewhere else in time, usually some time in his own past, though occasionally in his future. To survive these circumstances Henry has had to become good at running, picking locks, fighting, lying, and stealing. The plot examines the “what if” of being involuntarily shoved back and forth in time away from your present--including the paradoxes of meeting past and future versions of yourself--and combines that with the affecting story of two lovers who meet each other out of sequence, the normal chronology of a relationship upended. When Henry first sees Clare in his mid-twenties Clare has already known Henry since she was six because older Henrys have been inadvertently time traveling into the field behind her parent’s home and visiting with her almost all her life.
Ever since I first read The Time Traveler’s Wife in 2003 it has been on my mental list of all-time best reads, a book I judge other novels by, and it has maintained a prominent place on my bookshelf. For this “reread” I listened to the audio version and was just as entranced by the story as I was in my initial encounter. Because it’s narrated by two talented readers, a Henry and a Clare who both really capture their characters, I was able to especially savor the language and writing style. Being audio also meant no skimming over details when there is some sadness at the end, adding a little not unwelcome poignancy to my pleasure.
A sequel featuring Alba, Henry and Clare’s time traveling daughter, is set to come out sometime soon. Can’t wait--here’s hoping it’s just as wonderful.