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)
On one level, Ms Neffenegger's book is about Henry -- a time traveling librarian -- and his artist wife, Clair, who he first met on a jump into the past when she was still a toddler in her parents privileged home.
Even the most casual reader will find great good humor and charm in these people. Time travel is non-voluntary. At any moment, Henry can find himself in an unknown date and time. When he time- travels, it is not possible to bring clothes or money. So people often panic when he pops into the scene, nude and defenseless.
To cope with the problems of time travel, Henry learns to fight like a tiger and trains to outrun those who would harm him while he is on a journey. In the grip of the space-time continuum, and the harsh reality of genetics, Henry and Clair form a deep and unbreakable bond of love and trust. Even death cannot destroy their shared devotion. I was charmed by the poetry of their love and thrilled with openness of their love-making.
To me, The Time Traveler's Wife was a truly wonderful listen.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
Not normally a fan of love stories, but the premise of this one intrigued me. I liked the idea of a couple that could "meet" twice in different years, each meeting the first for one person but not the other.
Niffenegger does a skillful job managing the strange chronology of a time travel story without confusing the reader, conveying both the moments of poignancy and unexpected ordinariness that would emerge from a decades-long relationship with such an issue at its heart. Sometimes Henry's coming unstuck in time leads to interesting moments of insight, sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's frightening. She also gives Henry and Clare distinct, believable voices, as she does with the secondary characters. And I found the ending moving.
However, the book could have used more tension. Henry and Clare aren't terribly absorbing characters (why must the young Henry renounce being a bad boy so quickly?), and the fate of their relationship is never in much doubt. They fall in love and stay together because, well, they're in love and together in the future. Nor is enough done with the book's supporting characters. There are flashes of drama, but they aren't developed enough to add much emotional weight to the main story. And some plot choices are rather unconvincing -- why, for example, does Henry's condition make so little apparent splash in the scientific community? The author makes an attempt to wrap up some loose ends in the closing chapters, but her treatment of them feels cursory.
Niffenegger is a capable writer and I did like this book, but found it a little sloppy and underwhelming for such a widely-hyped novel. The audio readers did a good job.
This was the first in over 300 audio books I could not finish. I found it very slow moving, characters uninspiring and unnecessarily vulgar. I would not recommend.
I guess I'm more comfortable with the kind of narration that each role has the same voice throughout the book. This book keeps changing narrators because of the different views of the roles so the voices of each role differ by the narrator and it's kind of confusing for me, especially when the story itself has a very complex timeline...(well, it's a time traveler's story..) I think this could be dealt better.
I have enjoyed all my downloads (usually classics like the Fountainhead or the Count of Monte Christo with a sprinkle of fun in between, short novels like Pi or the Gospel According to Biff or The Help). This was a story I could not connect with and neither its narration or story line (was there one? I am unsure...) kept my mind from drifting off. Perhaps I will give it a go in print but not any time soon, there are too many other wonderful audible titles to choose from to listen to on my long DC commute.
I did not expect to like this book. Maybe enjoy it, but guiltily, in the way I enjoy chick flicks and chick lit. But I did enjoy it immensely and was thrilled by the little touches that show the writer is more punk than easy listening. The characters, for example, love punk music and attend concerts. The main character is an artist, creating paper-molded masterpieces. Above all, however, the story, with its skips through time, its nonlinear resonances and its consistent characters amid an inconsistent time structure, is somewhat challenging but so worth it. In some ways, the audiobook may be easier than the book, since the male and female characters are voiced by different narrators.
This is a well crafted story which can be easily listened to by both men and women, but I would not recommended it for younger persons, under 18 years of age, as there are some adult matters.
I actually saw the movie first, but liked it so much I bought the print book and this audiobook, and they are both as enjoyable as the movie!! I recommend this story very much!
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