“Love in the past and future!”
This amazing piece of work, “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffeneggerdoesn’t only has time travel in its skin, but a whole new life with the novel opening up about librarians, artists, punk rock, alcoholics and of course about love!
Henry meets his wife, Clare, for the first time when he was 28 and Clare was 20. Clare met Henry for the first time when she was six and Henry was 36. Confused? Henry is, literally, a time traveler!
Henry has a disease: a chrono-displacement disorder that leaves him unglued in time, traveling at random to various points in the past and future of his own life and, inexplicably, to Clare’s childhood. Henry cannot hold onto any of his possessions when he time travels—no clothes, no food, no money—a fact that has made him an expert in stealing these things from stores and random people.
Throughout it all, he meets the young Clare quite often in the meadow behind her house where she waits for him with her father’s old clothes, food, and coffee. In their adulthood she faithfully waits for Henry, to return to her not merely as a visitor, but as a husband!
So often a love story goes for huge dramatics to prove the deep love between twopeople but this novel leaves you love-struck, as you see their love for each other simply in what they do, how they talk, how they touch!
Niffenegger alternates viewpoint time and again, narrating the story in both Henry’s and Clare’s voice. Despite giving the characters equal narration time, Clare unfortunately remains one-dimensional. She is defined by her love for Henry, her artistic career and a little bit by her family.
Thankfully, Henry has written much more. Working as a librarian at the Newberry in his present, Henry also has a complex life travelling through time. He is also well practiced in drugs and drinking. He, hence, is a mess in every sense of the word.
Despite all of his problems, though, Henry is someone who is capable of learning and adapting to various changes. Throughout the novel he clings to a certain charm and warmth, qualities that makes it plausible to believe that Clare really did love him long before Henry first met her.
Major part of their married life is comprised of emotional turmoils and traumas. One of which is explicitly mentioned as 7 miscarriages Claire had, thanks to Henry’s messed up genes inside her. But they finally have a daughter who can time travel too! Now and again she meets her younger self and her father when he hadn’t had her. Meanwhile, Henry travels to the future and finds out through his daughter, Alba, that he will pass away at the age of 43. Things go even more depressing thereafter. There was an abrupt transit from Henry’s death at New Year’s Eve and the sorrow therein to the first and the last time he travels to the far future and meets an 82 year old Clare. She waits for him at the table, sipping coffee. And here the story ends leaving you moved on the account of their unparalleled love!
Overall the book produces mixed emotions. The first half goes on as a cute love story with its ups and downs, but it is mostly enjoyable. The second half, however, takes a negative turn and some might say it became too sad to be true in certain parts.
But then, love stories like this, have a way to reach your heart!
Overall rating : 3/5
About The Author
Currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from MCM DAV College. An avid reader with an immense love for dancing. I enjoy music, poetry and art