Friday, 4 December 2009
Book Review: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I must be one of the very few people who had not read this book. When it first came out I was really put off by all of the hype surrounding it plus I hate books that jump back and forth which this one obviously would. However, the release of the film caught my interest and I decided to give the book a go. I am so, so glad that I did because I think that The Time Traveler's Wife is simply stunning.
It is the love story of Claire Abshire and Henry DeTamble. They met when Claire was six and Henry thirty-six and then they married when Claire was twenty-two and Henry was thirty. Confusing? The concept took a little bit of getting used to but the idea is that Henry suffers from a genetic condition which causes him to involuntarily travel back and forth in time.
Audrey Niffenegger has created a basic love story with extraordinary circumstances. I loved the realness of Claire and Henry's relationship; Claire admits that she sometimes quite enjoys the time to herself that she gets when Henry disappears, even though it is always a huge relief when he returns. Henry and Claire are beautifully constructed characters and we are told the story from both of their perspectives which adds another dimension to the book.
As the reader, I very quickly accepted Henry and the condition he has. I felt like this was mirrored in the character of Claire, she meets Henry when she is only six years old and so the way he is, is almost normal to her as she has not really known anything different. I did think that when other characters in the book were made aware of Henry's condition they accepted it very quickly. I am not sure in real life if I would believe in something like that without wanting to ask hundreds of questions first.
Audrey Niffenegger explores relationships, love, loss, loyalty, absence and loneliness through her story of Claire and Henry. I could not put this book down and the ending had me in tears mainly because I just did not want the book to finish. I think that this is a beautiful book and I only wish that I had read it sooner. I will not be waiting so long to read the author's new book Her Fearful Symmetry which has been getting rave reviews. I'm not sure now that I have finished the book of The Time Traveler's Wife whether I will watch the film adaptation or not. I'm a little worried that it will be no where near as good as the book. If you, like me are one of the few who haven't read this yet then I urge you to get a copy, I loved it!