Marjorie's Reviews > The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
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Oct 27, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: my-brand-of-romance, melodic-prose, something-to-do-with-time
Read in October, 2010

This is exactly the kind of love story that I love reading about. I shall try to articulate my feelings about this book as non-mushy as I can manage. My reading was, at first, only propelled by curiosity. The plot is definitely one I haven't encountered before, even if I already have The Time Machine and Back to the Future in my shelf. Still, it piqued my interest. Soon enough, I couldn't stop leafing through the pages. You see, I am inexplicably drawn by romances that invoke feelings of desperate longing and that old can't-escape-fate-but-I'll-live-with-it kind of thing. It makes me frustrated that Clare is always waiting. But at the same time it also feels like every moment that she and Henry are together, no time is wasted. So there shouldn't be any complaining, on Clare's part (on my part too, as a reader), because the love expressed isn't less true even when there is absence (for however long or short). The waiting must be excruciating. That's definitely the feeling I got when I was reading the book. And it always feels like there's never enough time. And that's why I think the relationship was so powerful, it makes both characters appreciate the Now all the more. But aside from that, there's also that determinism flare to it because both characters know, without doubt, that they're fated to be together. No matter how bad things get, they don't even consider being apart. Never. Even until the end, it was always Henry and Clare. Like Romeo is with Juliet, and Tristan is to Islode.

Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire were believably human in this book which made their love story altogether unforgettable. I mean, I can't stand stories where the main character is infallibly good because it just doesn't look human to me. There must be flaws in there somewhere. The task is to make the flaws lovable. And that's present in this book. Henry is (until he met Clare, that is) a drunkard, lonely, and he's grown quite strong because he had to be, given his condition and all. But he's also vulnerable and in need of comfort. He's got that existential angst about him, that makes him comical at times. And then he meets Clare who's as bright as the sun dawning. Really, she's like jingle bells in Christmas. She came into his miserable life and made it meaningful. Henry was transformed. Cheers to growth and maturity! But as you read on, she transforms too. Magical Henry from her childhood became real, but along with him is the reality of his condition. Thus, the endless waiting in spite of the stellar emotions, and not to mention, the sex. This transformation, the way the characters struggled with the problems, made the book very much like a whirlwind of emotions.

Plot alone cannot be credited for why I love this book. The writing is superb. Well, maybe not the sex scenes part where the author uses words such as 'cunt' and 'fuck' a little too much for my, ahem, taste. Nevertheless, the words string together in a very lyrical way, as if those words were meant to be partnered so. This is the kind of book you'll love to read aloud, and over and over---precisely because the words are beautiful. It moves you. Especially towards the end. And that's what you want when you want to fill cold boring afternoons, right? I still can't believe this is Ms. Niffenegger's debut novel. It's very artistic. And even the content of it, Henry was a big music dude, Clare's an artist and both of them are wide readers. Loads of music bands were mentioned. I don't even know any of them (by name, maybe, but now by song. At all. I suck). And the way Clare's works reflected her emotions far more than the written words. Most instances, there'd be quotes from renowned writers sprayed throughout the book that add to the richness of the scene. Really, it's inspired me to read poems. Either the book involved A LOT of research on this stuff, or, the writer just REALLY knew it even before. And I'm guessing it's the latter.

In terms of pace, I guess it was a little slow. It took me a long time to finish, about two days. That's long when you consider that I've done nothing but read all day. Plus, I had to return to some of the pages because sometimes the Clare part and the Henry part are indistinguishable. And, silly me, I re-check the dates when it's mentioned again later on in the book just to see if it was consistent with the first time it was said. And, to be fair, it is.

Really good book. I just finished it yesterday night, I still can't seem to get it out of my head.

Favorite Chapter: I absolutely love the Prologue. Although there are more poignant chapters, the Prologue was really the part that captured me mercilessly.
Favorite Quote: "Don't you think it's better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?" - Clare Abshire
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Quotes Marjorie Liked

Audrey Niffenegger
“Long ago, men went to sea, and women waited for them, standing on the edge of the water, scanning the horizon for the tiny ship. Now I wait for Henry. He vanishes unwillingly, without warning. I wait for him. Each moment that I wait feels like a year, an eternity. Each moment is as slow and transparent as glass. Through each moment I can see infinite moments lined up, waiting. Why has he gone where I cannot follow?”
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger
“Why is love intensified by absence?”
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger
“It's hard being left behind. (...) It's hard to be the one who stays.”
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger
“Don't you think it's better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?”
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger
“But you know: you know that if I could have stayed, if I could have gone on, that I would have clutched every second: whatever it was, this death, you know that it came and took me, like a child carried away by goblins.”
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger
“Maybe I'm dreaming you. Maybe you're dreaming me; maybe we only exist in each other's dreams and every morning when we wake up we forget all about each other.”
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger
“I won't ever leave you, even though you're always leaving me.”
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger
“Sleep is my lover now, my forgetting, my opiate, my oblivion.”
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger
“absence can be present, like a damaged nerve, like a dark bird”
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife


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