17/40: The Time Traveller’s Wife (by Audrey Niffenegger)


The Time Traveller’s Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger

Published 2004 by Harvest/Harcourt, Inc.

WHO: Henry deTamble and Clare Abshire,…

WHAT: a time traveller and the woman he loves…

WHERE: play out their drama in a meadow at her parent’s home and against the backdrop of Chicago, IL…

WHEN: from Sunday, June 16, 1968 – Thursday, July 24, 2053…

WHY: in a story of destiny/fate filled with romance, comedy and, tragedy alike…

HOW: all in concert with Henry’s Chronic Displacement Disorder (CDP)

+ The Time Traveller’s Wife is a tightly constructed and well edited story. The timeline is not linear, but by confining most of Henry’s adventures to  a segment of time tethered to specific relationships that are linear, and in the past and present tenses, the story doesn’t become unwieldy or fantastical in scope. 

+ Events are plausible. There’s no magic or supernatural effect deployed in the story.

+ 8 Kleenex story. Admittedly, this may also me a “minus.” The Time Traveller’s Wife is definitely a tear-jerker, filled with emotional yearnings never fully requited even as the characters play out the scripts of their lives. Each victory in determinism is bittersweet, every hope tinged with the wistfulness of knowing it may not be actualized. Readers will be able to identify and emphasize with these feelings, which are magnified in the story and thereby giving the reader access into the life and world of The Time Traveller’s Wife.

There are a couple segments where it is not clear what Henry’s appearances signifies. It is less of a case loose ends and more of a situation in which the appearances are not strongly enough linked to a relevant event in the story. For example, Henry appears in the kitchen, beaten and bloody. Why? 

 It is not clear as to how much Henry’s father knows or understands about Henry. Though a secondary character, Henry’s father plays a significant role; but  knowing whether ignorance or ambivalence is a factor in his relationship with his son would help the reader develop a clearer picture of the dynamics. Likewise, the nature of Inga (Henry’s one-time girlfriend,) as well as what she knows and when, is not explicit. This again lends a vagueness as to the tenor of their relationship and is slightly problematic in a key, tension-filed scene.

OTHER: Years ago, I started listening to the audio edition ofThe TIme Traveller’s Wife (by Audrey Niffenegger; narrated by William Hope and Laurel Lefkow.) My ambivalence towards the production was due to the narration: The narrators didn’t quite pull off the age ranges either in pitch/tenor or affectation convincingly. When I lost the CDs, I didn’t care, but I sensed that I might like the actual story so I purchased a print copy of The Time Traveller’s Wife (by Audrey Niffenegger.) I apologize, but I do not remember who I purchased it from; but it’s been in my TBR stacks since 08/10/2009! I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.

I have challenged myself to read forty books this summer. Many books will be backlist titles as I’m trying to clear the stacks; but I have no doubt that new releases will make their way in too! 😉


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