jzhunagev's Reviews > The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
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Oct 05, 11

bookshelves: award-winning-best-seller, fiction-contemporary, from-book-to-film, romance-love-story, science-fiction
Recommended to jzhunagev by: the "Voice"
Recommended for: Romance and science fiction readers
Read from August 02 to 11, 2011, read count: 1

A Love to Defy the Rules of Time
(A Book Review of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler’s Wife)

Right from the beginning of Audrey Niffeneger’s famed debut novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife, the reader is already thrown terrifically off-balanced. Here’s a scenario of a man meets woman that’s anything but, and a love story, while on the surface conquers the test of time, challenges its tenets as well.

On the day that Henry DeTamble, a librarian, meets Clare Anne Abshire, an art student, in a Chicago library it seems she had already known him all his life, while he doesn’t even know who she is. As the reader gets to know bit by bit, Henry is afflicted with Chrono-Displacement Disorder, a genetic anomaly that makes him involuntarily displaced in time triggered mostly during moments of emotional stress. That’s how Clare had met him; by means of an older future version of Henry who traveled back in time to meet the child Clare where in her past they first fell in love, while in the present time of their meeting all of this is just waiting to unfold. Wait, am I talking sense? Well, talk about being off-balanced, for that’s just how I felt reading the first chapter of the book, yet as I continued on, shuffling through different timelines in the life of this couple, things begin to click in and become comprehensible, and I was left impressed by Niffenegger’s unusual love story and her atypical take on time traveling.

I think this is one of those books that have something for everyone — it quite engages the reader on multiple levels. For the most part, some easily relate to the circumstances of Henry and Clare’s relationship; that though Henry is beset by a strange medical condition, the daily ordeals and simple joys they undergo as a couple, and in their eventual married life, remains grounded in the same experiences when two people are madly in love with each other. For sci-fi buffs, Niffenegger’s rendition of one of the genre’s most often used concept is refreshing, taking time traveling on its head and portraying it as something that’s uncontrollable, a threat to constancy and a blight.

I fairly marveled at Niffenegger’s clever fusion of this sci-fi element into a heartfelt love story themes such as waiting, domesticity, relationship gender roles, fate and free will, as well as brushing on philosophical questions of meaning and purpose. By figuring out time traveling into the tale of Henry and Clare she also gives us a peek into that window of a wild fantasy some of us seem to share: what is it like to go into the past and even the childhood of our significant other? It gives more than an adequate meaning of what’s like to be a part of someone’s life.

More than anything else, the novel’s quaint structure, through Niffenegger’s innovative space time continuum interplay, sure does give that sense of displacement to the reader that Henry must have felt as it hurls and jumps from certain events in the lives of her two major protagonists slogging through different chronologies. Yet for once didn’t I felt lost for the author excellently laid out the logic of her premise clearly in the beginning pages of the book (though frankly it was a slow start for me as I take it all in), locks her narrative, and once you get settled in the rest ambles by smoothly — at least for me. The effect is a truly moving novel that even when the execution falls short its raw imaginative and intellectual power carries the day.

The only problem that I have with this book is that it’s too long and it could’ve do some good to the narrative if it was cut in some parts, especially in its middle section that kind of plateaued where some of the chapters served as fillers and doesn’t even bear a connection to and figure in whatsoever into what will eventually happen in the novel’s climax. I also noted that it was mostly on this section that some of its melodramatic stuff comes on in excess, with copiously inconsequential sex scenes and where the line of relationships of the novel’s key players goes overboard it made me roll my eyes as I think Niffenegger’s brewing a storm in a small tea cup, adding complication in the plot that in the first place it can do without.

Despite occasionally verging on the histrionic, the characters are well-drawn, with complicated family history and close (sometimes too much for comfort — oh, there I’m at again) friendships. The dialogue is witty but not unnatural (I particularly like some of the parts from Clare’s perspective) which balances the suspension of disbelief the reader needs to accept its sci-fi premise.


_________________________
Book Details: Book #32 for 2011
Published by Harcourt, Inc.
(Trade Paperback, 2004 Edition)
536 pages
Started: August 2, 2011
Finished: August 11, 2011
My Rating: ★★★★

[See this review on my book blog Dark Chest of Wonders and for many others.]
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Reading Progress

08/02/2011 page 22
4.0% "I'm reading this not because it's a love story, but to gain some perspective."
08/03/2011 page 78
15.0% "I'm actually getting the hang of the plot's timeline, it isn't confusing at all! Then again, confounding books are my thing, a therapy to my already addled brain. Hwoosah!!! *does the flying kick*"
08/04/2011 page 137
26.0% "So Clare has Filipino roomate by the name of Charisse with a somewhat European surname of Bonovant, which makes me wonder: do Audrey Niffenegger actually have a Filipino friend?" 2 comments
08/08/2011 page 264
49.0% ""...we laugh and laugh and nothing can ever be sad, no one can be lost, or lost, or dead, or far away; right now we are here, and nothing can mar our perfection or steal the joy of this perfect moment." — Clare Abshire —"
08/09/2011 page 303
57.0% "But now, my love, we are here, we are now, and those other times are running elsewhere."
08/09/2011 page 303
57.0% "But now, my love, we are here, we are now, and those other times are running elsewhere."

Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

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Maria wow, not confusing to you?!! now that's amazing :) keep reading!


message 2: by jzhunagev (last edited Aug 03, 2011 09:11PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

jzhunagev Maria wrote: "wow, not confusing to you?!! now that's amazing :) keep reading!"

Not to brag or anything, but to tell you honestly I quite see the prudence and logic why Audrey Niffenegger decided to start this in medias reas.

I'm quite amused that chrono-impairment has some advantages too; that sometimes as boredom gets you, you can do "things" with your other self just like what Henry did on Sunday afternoon dated December 10, 1978. Ahahaha! :D


Maria at paghahanapin mo pa ko sa scene na yan. give me the page! lol


Kwesi 章英狮 Hindi to siya pwedeng matawag na Romance, remember, Romance novels always have happy endings. Hehe. Love story lang to because it has a wider scope of what we so called love.


jzhunagev Kwesi 章英狮 wrote: "Hindi to siya pwedeng matawag na Romance, remember, Romance novels always have happy endings. Hehe. Love story lang to because it has a wider scope of what we so called love."

Kaya nga appended ang romance-love story. As long as the element of love is present it is considered romance whether it be a happy or a tragic ending.


Kwesi 章英狮 O I see, pero ganun lang naman eh bakit pa nila pinag-aawayan ang genreng Romance at Love Story? Si nicholas Sparks talaga tung ayaw tawaging Romance.


jzhunagev Kwesi 章英狮 wrote: "O I see, pero ganun lang naman eh bakit pa nila pinag-aawayan ang genreng Romance at Love Story? Si nicholas Sparks talaga tung ayaw tawaging Romance."

Paano kasi he doesn't want to be categorized in the same league with Danielle Steel. But the glaring truth is he is.


Kwesi 章英狮 I agree. Ano naman problema kung Danielle Steel, kasi pangbabae? Ang totoo pangbabae naman ang sinusulat niya kung tutuusin pero para sa akin walang pangbabae at panglalaki except na lang sa mga insecure. Misinterpret lang, Danielle Steele talks about love in many ways like family, friendship and so on. Di lang yan yung parang pocketbook romance.


jzhunagev S'yempre si Ingrid ang dapat talagang unang mag-"like" nito.

Salamat! ^_^


Monique Buckets of tears reading this one. Buckets, I tell ya. :D

Nice review! ;)


message 11: by jzhunagev (last edited Oct 05, 2011 07:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

jzhunagev Monique wrote: "Buckets of tears reading this one. Buckets, I tell ya. :D

Nice review! ;)"


I know that particular scene, and I agree it's touching.

Thank you. :)


Ingrid Ahe, sorry
Basta may TTW, for sure umaaligid na ako
=))


jzhunagev Ingrid Mae wrote: "Ahe, sorry
Basta may TTW, for sure umaaligid na ako
=))"


No need to be sorry, Ingrid. ^^,


Rollie Medyo natawa ako. :D


jzhunagev Rollie wrote: "Medyo natawa ako. :D"

Saan? Sa review o sa mga comments? Kwesi, oh! XD


Rollie Natawa ako sa review mo! bwahaha


jzhunagev Rollie wrote: "Natawa ako sa review mo! bwahaha"

Hindi ko magets? Bakit?


Rollie Secret. Basta masasabi ko lang, pakipot ka pa. Gustong gusto mo naman. :P


jzhunagev Rollie wrote: "Secret. Basta masasabi ko lang, pakipot ka pa. Gustong gusto mo naman. :P"

Hay, naku! Wala namang nakakatawa d'yan.
Bahala ka. Hayaan ko na lang magalit si Ingrid sa 'yo.


message 20: by Rollie (last edited Oct 06, 2011 06:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rollie Wala nga nakakatawa kasi seryoso. Gusto ko lang matawa. Masama ba? :P


jzhunagev Rollie wrote: "Gusto ko lang matawa. Masama ba? :P"

Talagang masama. Lalo kung hindi naman talaga nakakatawa. Baka lumuluwag na turnilyo mo, patingin natin kay Sheryl sa next Meet Up nang mahigpitan niya.


Rollie Grabe ang sama. Some truths are really funny, you know. :)


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