sometimes witty book reviews
Henry is a librarian with a genetic disorder which causes him to time travel. He has no control over when or where he ends up in space and time but when he get’s there he’s stark naked. Every time. He first meets his wife Clare as a young university student, long before getting his librarian gig. But Clare first meets (a much older) Henry as a little girl. She brings him clothes and food from home and grows up knowing that they’ll be married one day.
Troubles really start when the couple discover that each time they successfully concieve, the foetus fatally time travels out and back into her womb. Things get worse when Clare realises she remembers the day when, decades earlier, her father killed her husband. It’s a book without a predictable ending and a unique examination of couples’ feelings after having known their spouse forever.
Although the space-time continuum play is relatively logical, it’s not brilliant on the sci-fi front. The character’s aren’t fantastically developed and the point of the novel is lost somewhere between metaphors and miracle invitro treatments. Having said that, The Time Traveler’s Wife has excellent pace and an original angle on the supersaturated *cough* Doctor Who *cough* genre of time travel (but could we put an extra ‘l’ in the title, please?)
Time Traveler’s a little too chic-flicky for me, but what I am glad about is the success that the then newcomer Audrey Niffenegger had when it was published in 2003 (yes, there was an Eric Bana studded film released in 2009 – but read the book). Sometime’s it’s hard to see new time travel writers beyond the monolith that is Steven Moffat. Niffenegger (or rather, her publicists) cleverly side stepped him by playing the deep romantic elements and Henry’s prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks.
Actually come to think of it, I have to admit I did not see that bit coming.
Maybe I’m being unnecessarily harsh; Niffenegger’s suspense is really quite thrilling.