A colleague lent me Audrey Niffenegger‘s The Time Traveler’s Wife months ago, and I finally got down to reading it today. I thought that it was overall a well-written, moving book, which uses its time-traveling twist to set up some poignant situations e.g. the time-traveler’s child travels to the past to visit her parents, from a future in which her father is dead, and is asked by her father not to let her mother know he dies. Without the time-traveling, the story wouldn’t be as special, but the author does a great job of not making a pretzel out of the narrative, and the book is a joy to read.
I jotted down some comments about the story as I read it – call it live commentary, if you like – and I’ve reproduced my jottings below.
[Warning: Spoilers ahead.]
p8 – The author’s wasted no time setting up the rather special time-traveling situation, so there’s no need to spend time figuring it out. Good.
p20 – A nice line, describing Henry, post coitus: “He’s sleeping with abandon, torqued into an unlikely shape as though he’s washed up on some beach…”
p40 – Things are going along happily, if a little goofily, and suddenly I recall that a reviewer had called the book “an elegy to love and loss”, and I realise that things won’t stay this happy…
p48 – I read, “Our daughter, I think sadly, would have looked like this.”, and think in my head: “See what I mean? See what I mean?!”
p254 – I cannot stop reading. Over the past two, three hours, I’ve been wanting a nap, but I am even now reading on. The writing is tight, the story is interesting, and I care very much about how Henry and Clare are.
p308 (6.09pm) – Still cannot stop. Stupid book.
p348 (6.30pm) – Now I understand why, some pages earlier, Clare was sitting on a blood-soaked bed, holding a tiny monster in her hand.
p376 (6.52pm) – So Henry dies. Dammit.
p414 (7.20pm) – Ah so that’s why Gomez was so possessive.
p519 (8.30pm) – I finish the book. The ending is satisfying, in a way that deepens the couple’s relationship. I’m trying to figure the book out. Maybe it’s about the mythology of the one true love, who would find you across space and time, the one you instinctively long for.