Review of The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. A time travel romance where the PoV lives their life out of order. It has many of the same trappings as Doctor Who and River Song story… Spoilers!
My review of The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I really enjoyed reading The Time Traveler’s Wife. I had enough of a supernatural element to keep me interesting (gosh this story would have been creepy without it). The storytelling was beautiful and it had me in tears. And I really enjoyed the bitter sweetness of the love story. It’s a story about longing and about homesickness.
My review from 2013 of The Time Traveler‘s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Again I am late to the game. This has been on my to-read list for quite some time now… 3 years according to GoodReads. I often wait a bit before I write my review, but tonight I just finished reading it. The review is a bit rambling… I have just put down the book five minutes ago. I still have a big lump in my throat and it has been there for the last hour or so. I never quite started crying, perhaps because I knew it would be sad, and boy was it sad. The strange thing was that the whole book had this melancholy tone to it. Clara always waiting, Harry always longing to be there.
The book is full of beautiful little vignette of two lives. One lived in order and one lived out of order, out of it’s time. Each little moment not meaning much on it’s own, but rounded like a piece of flash fiction and in the context of all the other little pieces it fits together to a beautiful puzzle of a life.
The book has inspired me to give my boyfriend quite few more kisses than normal. To hold him close and whisper sweet nothings in his ear. It is the kind of book that makes you homesick even though you are at home. And I think that is how Harry felt most of his life after he met Clare. Like he was longing for her even when she was with him. And she felt the same. Sometimes more so.
A bitter sweet read
This is a book of waiting, longing and loving. There is so much love in this book that it hurt everyone involved. That is the thing about great love stories, isn’t it? They always hurt the people involved. It is also a book about great, great friendship and understanding. All the people around Harry and Clare that stand by them, that support them and love them even though Harry is a freak of nature.
I wish I had taken some notes along the way as I read, because I am looking back on the book all of it is colored by the ending and I see it all in a hue of sadness now. But I smiled a lot while reading this as well. I read bits of the beginning chapters aloud for my sister and whoever else was around while I read.
I like that the book does not really try to explain how the time travel thing works anymore than Dr Who does, it is just techno-babble that doesn’t make any sense if you stop and think about it, so the book just moves you along.
I have to say I adore all the secondary characters: Harry’s dad, Kimy, Alba, Gomez, the doctor etc. They were so flavorful and you felt like you knew them from the first time they showed up on the page. Everyone was drawn with so vivid strokes that you could see them, knew them – like they were your friends.
I love how Clara’s artistic process is described, how the art of papermaking plays a big part in the book along with music and literature. The people in this book loves art, in all it’s forms. It makes me want to play with papermaking again – which is a wonderful and messy art form! I love art that makes a mess.
Speaking of mess this is a book where childhood plays a huge role. We meet Harry and Clare again and again as children. And little Alba! If it was not for Alba I don’t think I would have been ok with where this book left me emotionally. I was very happy for the foreshadowing of the ending throughout the second half of the book.
It is Christmas so I read best sellers, not something I normally do a lot. But this year I had borrowed a big stack of books from my friends among them Hunger Games and The Time Traveler’s Wife. I have enjoyed reading some of the books everyone has been raving about, and with good reason. They have not been the best books I have read this year, but they have definitely been good books and that count for a lot in my book.
Ok I will stop rambling and try to sum up… I really enjoyed reading this book. I had enough of a supernatural element to keep me interesting (gosh this story would have been creepy without it), it was beautifully told. I never noticed the language at all other than the fact that it was present tense (interesting choice). And I really enjoyed the bitter sweetness of the love story.
Edit 2023: One of my friends read it for the first time this year, and he found it quite creepy, so the suck fairy might have visited. Starking-like behaviour hits differently today.
The stats: The Time Traveler’s Wife
Published: 2003 by MacAdamCage Pub
Length: 519 pages
Read: December 21 to 26, 2013
This review was originally posted: December 26, 2013. Updated and edited June 26, 2023