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The Time Traveler's Wife | [Audrey Niffenegger]

The Time Traveler's Wife

Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.
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Publisher's Summary

Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

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.

What the Critics Say

  • Alex Award Winner, 2004

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Scott Roseville, CA, United States 03-28-10
    Scott Roseville, CA, United States 03-28-10 Member Since 2006

    Don't you just love a great story well told?

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    "Epic Drama & Love Story through Time Travel"

    This is a "must read" for original and vital usage of time travel as a "plot device". Most Time Travel books are more about SETTING (distant futures or pasts) and TECHNOLOGY (plot devices) which limit the importance of what makes a good story GOOD CHARACTERS!
    The two time crossed lovers of this book (excellently narrated by the man & woman team, still, a real treat in the business of audio books.) with excellent editing (no mouth sounds.)
    I really truly can't understand the fuss some people make about a scene or two. You'd think there was some kind of hard core porn. In fact I'd probably have missed ENTIRELY it I hadn't been alerted to expecting something of that sort.
    Also brilliant is how the author cuts through the possible complexities of time travel with one simple premise which rings true. "Things only happen once." You have free will in real time from your past choices to the future you choose.
    It very much simplifies the concept of time travel. No alternate universes, no changing history.
    That the traveler has no control over where or when he goes or even for how long, landing naked desperately needing clothing quickly - it makes him a very tragic figure.
    Lastly, I liked the way each chapter keeps track of the two main characters and their respective "real life" ages to make the main story easy to follow as the poor protagonist is whipped through back and forward without any control, into heart rending scenes.
    Excellent. A truly original concept. I couldn't stop listening. Not to be missed. This is a beautiful love story that unfolds with "flash forwards" and "flashbacks" that keep you guessing and glued to your earphones.

    24 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luisa M Deckard 11-25-09 Member Since 2005
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    "A superficial romance with a time-travel twist"

    Even though this book is already heavily reviewed, the opinions are so divided I had to put in my 2 cents. Any story with time travel is going to have some logical problems, so I was willing to go along and accept all the inevitable cause-and-effect paradoxes. What I found annoying were the other plot devices the author used in an attempt to spice up the story. Many times Henry had no problem telling others about his time traveling affliction, but at other times (when it made the story more interesting) he couldn't. Sometimes Claire and Henry felt free to tell each other what would happen in the future; other times (when it heightens conflict), they didn't. Sometimes he knows when he will return to his own time, but at other times (when it adds dramatic tension) he doesn't. None of this is ever explained. Good scifi writers know that if they expect their readers to accept a different world, they need to set up clear rules within that world and stick to them. This author doesn't do that.

    I found the idea of this book interesting and was initially enthusiastic, but the single-minded romantic focus wore thin after a while. (Will they or won't they get together? We already know they will. Do they have any other interests in life? Apparently not.) This could have been an interesting meditation on love and the inevitable loss we all must go through, but the superficiality of the characters undermined those larger themes. I suspect that the long descriptions of Henry's musical tastes and Claire's artwork were an attempt to flesh out the characters a bit, but it didn't work for me. They just came across as hip, vacuous, self-centered yuppies with a time travel problem. Read this if you absolutely love romances, have lots of time, and don't mind sad endings. Otherwise, give it a pass.

    58 of 65 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Lake Forest, CA, United States 05-10-08
    Jim Lake Forest, CA, United States 05-10-08 Member Since 2006
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    "Interesting Time Travel Tale"

    For those who haven't read this book yet, some quick tips:
    * You might feel like you missed something early on, and feel the need to back it up and listen again... Don't bother. You will quickly get used to the author's approach to the time traveling technique.
    * It's more of a love story than a real sci-fi time travel story.
    * The author must have felt her readers need to have vulgar, graphicly described sexual acts for us to picture a love making scene. Sadly, her high-schoolish and flagrant use of "locker room language" served to detract from scenes. She used words I haven't heard in real conversatoins since I was 16 years old.
    * Her originality in her take on time travel is wonderful.
    * The story begins well, and continues to build and keep your attention until about 3/4 of the way through and then she seems to lose focus and starts to fill in with artsy/craftsy stuff that add nothing to the plot. I found my self yelling at my MP3 player to "hurry up and get back to the story". I can find a book some other time on how to make paper.
    * Be prepared to be left hanging on a couple of things that are never resolved.
    * The story is read well, but the female narrator doesn't do men's voices that well and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to when they switch from male to female narrators.
    That being said, it was one of the better books I have listened to this year.

    41 of 46 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah 09-19-09
    Deborah 09-19-09
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    "Did we listen to the same book?????"

    "Fun" "dreamy" "well read"!?.... This book was painful in so many ways. The concept was intriguing and the collection of characters was great. BUT... the author could have done so much more to create tension between the contrasting intimacy of Clare/Henry and his disconnect with so much of life trapped in linear time. Also - Henry's nudity problem in time travel was so tedious and repetitive and distracting I could hardly stand it. Added NOTHING to the story.

    The author's descriptions of the relationship between Clare and Henry alternated between sublime,poetic at some points, and utterly crude at others. One of the terms Clare used in describing her own body is so viscerally pejorative that I stopped liking her then and there. And what was up with the "love scene" in the kitchen with Gomez and Clare? I actually really liked Gomez until this jarringly ugly scene.

    As for the readers - Clare was tone deaf; Henry was gratingly nasal and too often sounded bored and condescending. The biggest problem I had with them though was the amazing frequency of mispronounced words. Where were the editors???? In one chapter, Henry pronounces a word incorrectly the first go-round, then corrects it later on.... Huh? Go back and edit the damned first mispronunciation! It seemed so lazy.

    51 of 58 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 10-10-12
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 10-10-12 Member Since 2002

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

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    "One of the Best"

    This was a great book. It is destine to become a classic. I am not easily brought to tears but I was sobbing, and literally wailing, while doing the dishes as I listened to one of the poignant scenes of this unique and wonderful novel. My wife rushed in with a worried look asking what was wrong (fearing I had cut off my thumb). I popped out an ear bud and replied "good book". It was; it was a very good book. I listened to it a second time as soon as I had recovered from the first listen, then my wife, my child, and I listened to it again on a long drive. We all laughed and cried together as we drove. Interestingly, although many of these reviewers were brought to tears by this book, it is not at all sad. It is just very poignant. I left the book with a strong feeling of joy for life and the importance of love. The book contains some strong language and adult situations, but I think it is fine for most teens.

    24 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joey Chicago, IL, United States 01-13-08
    Joey Chicago, IL, United States 01-13-08 Member Since 2005
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    "One of my favorite books"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Eagan, MN, United States 08-06-06
    Steve Eagan, MN, United States 08-06-06 Member Since 2005
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    "Very Very Good!"

    I truly enjoyed this book. It was very well written and the author did a superb job of keeping the timelines straight as the plot wove round and around itself. The tag-team narration was a stroke of genius and the readers were believable. I wasn't sure I was going to like it but immediately fell into the charactors pace and enjoyed the ride. High marks!

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Reinhold 01-02-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Beautifully Constructed Novel!"

    I truly enjoyed this book. Usually I like to read books before I go see them in the theater, but it just didn't work out that way this time. I was hesitant about listening to the book because the movie was good but I wasn't sure if the book was going to live up to all of its hype. I really believe now that I have finished the book that this book among all others that I read in 2009 will most certainly come to stand the test of time and be considered a classic someday. My amazement and appreciation of this book comes from the mere beauty of the writing. The book had action, romance, drama, and at times poetry. All of it was intricately intertwined in a way that was breathtaking at times. The audio book was recorded with two different narrators: one for Henry and one for Claire. This made for a great listen and really helped to draw me into the story so that I could understand what everyone was feeling in the story.

    If you are considering this book, then I highly recommend that you listen to the audiobook so that you can experience the story in the same way that I was able to.

    16 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. House Sr. Sherborn, MA, United States 10-29-14
    G. House Sr. Sherborn, MA, United States 10-29-14 Member Since 2012

    I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.

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    "Complex tale that hits you in the heart"

    I wasn't sure about this book at first. I really had no concept of how the plot could be held together. The story opens up on the slow side, in my opinion, but rapidly you are drawn into the work. At first you might be thinking the novel is about Henry but then you might change you mind as you get further. Knowledge is power and the shifting tides of time of this novel help you understand how power ebbs and flow with the seasons of life. I was surprised by how central sex was to this novel, of course it was handled tastefully, but the the author did not gloss over how relationships and emotions intertwine with the characters.

    This book is more about the relationship between them than time travel. Time travel is a vehicle to bring poignant moments into focus. Indeed, time travel is the author's tool for cutting out the mundane and focusing on the interesting. There is not a science fiction novel -- this about about two people who find each other and grow. This is about love and despair and sacrifice. I think you should give it a read even if you are little shy about science fiction. It will be enjoyed, in my opinion, by those who have experience with relationships. It more of a coming of age novel than anything else. By the way, I hear there is a squeal in the works.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gloria farmington hills, MI, USA 08-10-09
    Gloria farmington hills, MI, USA 08-10-09
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    "This is a must listen!"

    I listen to my audiobooks to help me fall asleep at night. With this book, I was fighting sleep and staying awake until 3:00 a.m. to hear more. Very well written, fast moving, an unpredictable and enjoyable read. This is one I'll listen to again and again! A big thank you to the author.

    18 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 295 results PREVIOUS1230NEXT
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  • Mr. D. M. J. Bass
    UK
    11/28/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So much better than the film!"
    If you could sum up The Time Traveler's Wife in three words, what would they be?

    Brilliant engaging lovely


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It would be a bit much to listen to all at once, but in my free time I didn't put it down !


    Any additional comments?

    This book as read brilliantly, I loved the film, but now in comparison it seems week after reading the book with I followed with keen interest a range of emotions and always thinking 'just one more chapter'
    I would definitely recommend this read!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • c
    United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Amazing story"

    I absolutely loved this audiobook. I hadn't got around to reading it and had be told how wonderful it was. At first I thought the jumps in time would be confusing, but it flowed so well and I fell in love with the characters straight away. I could be convinced this story was real and never wanted it to end. The two narrators worked perfectly together. I giggled, sighed and cried. I even made my car journeys longer just to keep listening. I will be picking up the book next.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ann
    HUNTINGDON, United Kingdom
    3/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful"
    Would you listen to The Time Traveler's Wife again? Why?

    I would defiantly listen to The Time Traveler's wife again, having a beautiful story read out to you as you draw is incredibly relaxing the time just flows by and you find your ideas smoothly flowing along with the story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I don't really have a favourite character I loved the way that they interacted together, it was there togetherness that brought out the best parts of them!


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Enjoy is a funny word, I laughed out loud when he first meets Claire in his time stream because it was such a real response! and I almost cried (except for the fact I was on a train) when you realise that he knows when the end is and tries to protect Claire


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I'm time poor and so sitting for 17 hours and listening to a book is something I can't really afford, equally its a very long time! I did listen to it in fairly long stints because once you get into the flow of a story its hard to break off.


    Any additional comments?

    When I was younger my mother read to me and brought me book and tapes which I wore down through listening to so often. It wonderful that I can still listen to 'adult' books because you get so much from somebody's voice telling a story and this story in particular with two voices is just beautiful.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ellie
    DUNOON, United Kingdom
    3/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Surprise"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Time Traveler's Wife to be better than the print version?

    Thought I would be confused with it jumping about in time-but it flowed ,beautifully.


    What does Fred Berman and Phoebe Strole bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Characterization,reading the book may have confused me who was speaking.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sigrin
    Valdisere, France
    2/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful lovestory"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Time Traveler's Wife to be better than the print version?

    Do not know, but the film I thought was good until I read the book and realised they had only told a third of the story.


    Which character – as performed by Fred Berman and Phoebe Strole – was your favourite?

    Loved them both equally


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    I was anxious how this book would pan out with all the time travelling but Ms Niffenegger tells a beautiful and emotional story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Kuriszuta
    12/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Nice surprise"
    Where does The Time Traveler's Wife rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's in the top ten.


    Have you listened to any of Fred Berman and Phoebe Strole ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No, I haven't, but I found that both of them did a wonderful job narrating the story. As I understand, reading the book it might take a while to figure out who is talking at the moment - with the different voices in the audio book it was of course no problem.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    There is a film, but the audio book is much better.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • wendy
    Sutherland, United Kingdom
    4/25/13
    Overall
    "Worth a read"

    Good narration and good story , very well read and pleasant to listen to .

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    11/29/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Immaculately crafted tale"
    Would you listen to The Time Traveler's Wife again? Why?

    Definitely, because I know I missed loads of stuff. It is so intricately written, with threads weaving through the past, present and future.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Time Traveler's Wife?

    Don't want to spoil it by giving anything away!


    What does Fred Berman and Phoebe Strole bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    The narrators are superb, and add loads to the story. The only complaint I have is with the sections in French and German, which I really couldn't understand, probably due to the very strong American accent, and I've taken off a star for that.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both. In the abstract it seems unbelievable, but it works superbly.


    Any additional comments?

    Gorgeous, satisfying read. Loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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