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)
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.
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.
Don't you just love a great story well told?
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.
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!
"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.
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.
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.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
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.
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 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.
Report Inappropriate Content