Clare and Henry's story unfolds from both points of view, depicting the effects of time travel on their marriage and their passionate love for each other. They attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals: steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.
©2003 Audrey Niffenegger; ©2005 HighBridge Company; (P)2003 BBC Audiobooks Ltd.
"Highly original first novel....Niffenegger has written a soaring love story illuminated by dozens of finely observed details and scenes....It is a fair tribute to her skill and sensibility to say that the book leaves a reader with the impression of life's riches and strangeness rather than of easy thrills." (Publishers Weekly)
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.
The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorite books. That's not to say that it's perfect or a work of fiction that will change the face of American literature, but I found it very engaging and hard to put down. I think the idea is really fresh and well-executed. I read the book in paper when it first came out and just listened to it again. My only real problem with the transition from paper to audio is that the book frequently tells you what date it is and how old the characters are (this changes a lot since one of the main characters is a time traveler). When looking at the book I could take the time to stop and absorb the date whereas it was kind of hard to catch the date and ages when read. It's kind of a convoluted storyline (this is necessary and is part of what makes it interesting) and I suspect that if I hadn't read it before I'd have done a lot of pausing to think about what just happened and rewinding of complicated parts. The narrators are pretty good, although the woman's voice was sometimes annoying to me, but that's probably just me. In sum, this is not a book to get if you're looking for something you don't have to concentrate on, but it's a great story so if you don't mind thinking a bit, give it a shot.
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.
This book had so much potential. I loved the concept and I thought it would be fascinating. It wasn't. Well, to be perfectly honest, I never finished it but I gave it about 5 1/2 hrs just to see if anything happened. Aside from the fact that the book is rather crass and that the main characters seem to enjoy a relationship not so much of love, sacrifice and devotion but consistenting entirely of sex.... well, nothing really happens. Perhaps if i finished the entire book I would discover something vaguely resembling a plot but I think I've given it plenty of opportunities to suck me in and it just hasn't. I can count on one hand the number of books I've stopped listening to/reading in the middle of and this book has earned the honor to be one of them.
I like reading (listening) to unabridged versions of books because I don't like others deciding for me what I should or shouldn't be exposed to.
That said, the premise of this book was very interesting and the story quite compelling. However, I was very put off by some of the language and what I considered to be gratuitous sexual content. In my view, it is simply unnecessary. Many fine and outstanding books have been written without ever putting a foul word or sexually explicit scene on paper. The difference between the unabridged and the abridged versions is more than five hours. Honestly, five hours of tripe is a tad excessive. Let this serve as fair warning.
I also admit to being somewhat put off by some of the mispronunciations by the narrators but, other than that, the narration was quite good. It was appropriately emoted.
As for the story itself, it was quite interesting. What I kept hoping for, but never got though, was an explanations as to why the individual travelled in time. Or at least, why he went back to the times that he did. After all, how did he end up in the meadow in the first place if he'd never been there before?
Overall, an interesting story with a fairly fresh premise. As a love story, it is wonderful. As science fiction, not so much.
So, it does seem somewhat pointless to write a review about a book that so many others have already written about. My hope is that other people will also write purposeless reviews, so that if their taste seems to match mine, I can follow their recommendations.
Time Traveler's Wife is really a love story, in fact, awfully similar to the original "Love Story," with some time traveling literary license. Problem for me is, the characters are somewhat unbelievable, and the story is way too long. I say this despite the fact that I live on audiobooks, and happily devour 100 hour sagas on a regular basis. This one is purposeless at times, with rare artsy descriptions and digressions that are annoying and seem completely separate from the rest of the narrative. Other than these, the author's main descriptive power seems to be in the endless insider naming of streets and bars in Chicago, most of which are mispronounced by the narrators. In fact, this is also a major downpoint to the book; audible and other publishers are making millions on these books, but the narrators can't seem to garner enough effort to actually investigate words they're unfamiliar with. Street names, along with words like "tra-PEE-zoid" and "vi-CO-din" appear with alarming regularity, and are distracting from the listen. Otherwise, it was ok, but I am confused by the rave reviews.
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.
Bi-Vocational Pastor/Draftsman. Full time husband and dad. Audiobooks are a staple in my life because I can read and work...
NO SPOILER: I love time travel novels. I have read almost all that I can find on Audible. That was what drew me to this book. My wife and I stumbled across the movie one night and it prompted me to find the audio book. Overall the book was more about relationship struggle than the intricacies of time travel. I almost always love the books better than the movie, but it wasn't the case here. I love the concept of the novel, the possible implications and the drama the time traveling creates, yet the characters just didn't feel natural to me. Henry was definitely NOT a real male... in the sense that his reaction to various engagements was not what a man would do...it was laughable in some cases. It was obvious to me that the female author failed to capture male essence when writing from Henry's point of view and that may have been on purpose... not sure. I'm not prude, but I didn't like the open adultery, continuous vulgar language, importance of drinking/drugs and unrestrained sexual provocativeness (the protagonist having sex with her husband from the future while lying right next to her present husband is too perverted for me). I didn't see how it added to the story, especially when the female protagonist engaged. The random inserts of art and foreign language was sometimes too much. The lack of closure at the end was unsettling after making it through the book. I would not recommend this or use a credit on it knowing what you now know. hope this helps. Later.
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.
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