I adored this book and got caught up in the characters and their complexity. What I most liked about the book is that they took an interesting concept - time traveling - and wove a great story around it. It was a robust and complicated story that would not have worked without the time travel concept and also went well beyond that. I found all of the characters including the supporting ones to be imperfect, intriguing and real. I wanted to know more about each one of them. Finally Niffenegger uses just the right amount of foreshadowing in her book. The readers were delightful. It may be easier to listen to versus read as the narrators give you vocal cues to anchor the story.
Like many other reviewers, I found myself riveted to the story. I kept putting off listening to it until I knew I'd have enough time in the car to settle back into the story line and listen for awhile. I LOVED the whole concept, and the love story between Henry and Clare was woven adeptly around the startling premise of time travel. LOVEDLOVEDLOVED it. Contrary to some reviewers, I didn't think the occasional "bad" language was out of place. That's how people talk in the real world. (though her use of the "C" word from Clare didn't ring true to me.) I also thought the descriptions of the sex/lovemaking scenes were a good combination of graphic and tender and that didn't bother me in the least.
BUT- eventually Laurel Lefkow's narration of Clare's perspective began to grate on my nerves almost beyond endurance. All of her male voices sounded the same, and they all sounded forced and awkward. I got a mental picture of a woman with her chin on her chest, forcing her voice as low as possible- and as a result, none of the male characters had any notable inflection, or changes in tone or expression. I found myself wishing that her part would be soon over- talking back to my mp3 player saying "PUT THE GUY BACK ON!!!" It's for this reason I gave 4 stars instead of 5.
Other than that, I absolutely loved this book. This is actually the first review I've written- done because I enjoyed it that much. I was left wishing there was more- wishing the story could go on, sad that it was ended.
I rarely write reviews. That being said, I felt it appropriate to give interested parties a bit of a warning before they purchase this book. Yes, it is a well-written book. Yes, I listened to the whole thing. However, I would not classify this book as SF. Time travel is portrayed as a genetic defect, not some other-worldy gift, and is treated as more of a medical issue than something amazing and useful. Perhaps I am alone in this, but for me, the appeal of SF is that it takes the reader to another world or reality. There was really nothing remarkable about the story of Henry's life other than the fact that he was a chrono-displaced person who shared an amazing love with a woman who put up with his constant popping in and out of her time. So, if you are looking for great SF, look elsewhere. However, if you are interested in a poignant romance, this is a good one.
I danced around getting this book, but the other reviews were just too good, so I down loaded it. It's a book you can't put down and then your sad when it comes to an end. The caracters got into your soul until you felt what they felt. The readers were the icing on a well written book. I have been a member for 3 years and have heard some very good books, but this is the first I have reviewed, I liked it so much.
This is a 5-star read categorized as science fiction. However, Audrey Niffenneger's writing is so intelligent, characters so well developed and the plot so compelling I could not put down this "genie in a bottle". It has it all, a story, characters, humor, love and the heart rending sadness that lingers for days. This is a MUST READ. I will not go see the movie (coming out in Aug. '09) as there is no way it can capture this wondrous, detailed and never dull read as we walk through the lives of two people, and those they love, trapped by something which cannot be tamed - time.
If you take a look at my other reviews, you'll find that I generally read Sci-Fi and military fiction books. I grabbed this book based upon its title - without doing any research or reading any reviews about it. I have been utterly surprised. This book is soft sci-fi, we accept things because that is the way they are presented. Henry's time traveling is never fully explained, in my opinion, but it doesn't matter. This book is less about the time traveling and more about the effects of it and how it affects thelives and marriage of the two main characters. Well read, well written and I would buy it again even knowing that it wasn't in its strictest sense my preferred genre.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
I had this book on my wish list for a long time because I was so intrigued with the reviews, but the movie came out before I had a chance to read it and I foolishly went because after all it had Rachel McAdams. The movie was such a disappointment that I nearly gave up on trying the book but I am so glad I gave it a chance. The book is so wonderful by contrast. Probably some of it has to do with how easy it is in a book to indicate subtle shifts in time that are just confusing on screen. I think more of it has to do with how a book can delve into the inner reactions and feelings of the characters in more detail. Niffenegger has worked out the issues of time travel in a very satisfactory way. Once you've accepted the premise that leads to Henry's particular problem, all the following consequences are very believably dealt with. And while the particulars of Henry's and Clare's story may be typical in a lot of ways, the time travel aspect gives it all a special poignancy. This is a deep meditation on love and loss and hope for those who are willing to give themselves up to it.
This book is an absolutely MUST listen for anyone who loves a good love story with some flights of fantasy thrown in for good measure. The story is captivating, funny, poignant... and probable.
I saw the movie trailers for this story and thought about seeing the movie, but when I saw it available on Audible, I decided to give the book a listen first. Now I don't think I ever want to see the movie. I simply don't believe it could ever be as good as the performance given by Fred Berman and Phoebe Strole. Berman and Strole don't just narrate the story, they bring Henry and Claire to life and it is Henry and Claire telling their own story in their own voices.
I can't imagine a better way to tell this story than through these two voices, so well chosen and well suited to their characters. I can't imagine a better introduction to audible books!
Brilliantly narrated, with a compelling story and rich characters. Absolutely fell in love with this book. I'm not much for romance or sappy love stories (Nicholas Sparks makes me cringe), but this book managed to weave a love story from a fantastical concept, mysterious plot line, and genuinely interesting characters. Gorgeous work by both the author and narrators.
This book started out well. Henry, the time traveler, happens upon Claire as a child and she becomes his stability factor throughout his time travel. They marry and we live with them. The concept is intriguing. Throughout the first half of the book, the author handles the concept extremely well. The reader gets used to the back and forth nature of years as Henry travels for periods of time and Claire waits. They age and life progresses. The novel moves forward at a decent pace with the plot developing nicely. Then we get to the second half of the book. I don't know exactly what happened here except that the author didn't know how to wind it up and began giving us fuller. I don't care about how to make paper. I don't need the sexual content (and neither did the book). I don't need long passages in different languages. None of that moved the plot along and none of added to any character development. In fact, it did the opposite. It served to demonstrate that both Claire and Henry are self absorbed, egocentric individuals who care for nothing except themselves. As the book reached the last 25%, the author attempts to pull the threads back together and in fact does some very stunning writing that actually draws the reader into some of the real emotion of the relationship between the two. But it is inconsistent. I nearly didn't finish it because it got slow and cumbersome, which is a shame since the beginning showed such promise. The narrators read well, but couldn't seem to manage consistent pronunciations. I don't know what that was about. It was irritating. If you purchase the book, read the first half and then fast forward to the last 25%. You won't miss too much. And beware. This book is dead serious and doesn't have a lot of humor. I suggest readers be in a melancholy mood to read it. In the end, it is depressing and sad and as is always true, broken hearts are ugly and not at all "romantic.