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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Book Review: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Paperback, 615 pages
Vintage UK
May 29, 2004
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Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Time Slip
Source: Personal Collection

“When Henry meets Clare, he is twenty-eight and she is twenty. Henry has never met Clare before; Clare has known Henry since she was six. Impossible but true, because Henry finds himself periodically displaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. Henry and Clare's attempts to live normal lives are threatened by a force they can neither prevent nor control, making their passionate love story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable. The Time Traveler's Wife is a story of fate, hope and belief, and more than that, it's about the power of love to endure beyond the bounds of time.”

Henry DeTamble is just your thirtysomething average guy – he’s a librarian, is in a relationship, and likes to go out and have a few drinks – except he time travels at any given moment and leaves a pile of clothes behind, and when he comes back he is absolutely naked!
Clare Abshire is your average little girl – she has picnics in the meadow, goes to school, and lives in a huge house – except a naked older man shows up in the meadow one day and tells her he’s a time traveler!

The first time Clare meets Henry he is time traveling – 14 years later she meets him in his present time.  A romance grows between them and Henry and Clare attempt to work out a life together dealing with his time traveling.

For me, this was my first book that really involved time travel.  Henry couldn’t control his time traveling and never knowing when it was going to happen always made for interesting occasions.  Also, showing up somewhere naked can really put a cramp in trying to go unnoticed - it can also end up being quite dangerous.  One of the things that I enjoyed about this novel was that we get to see how time traveling effects those that Henry loves - the fear that comes with not knowing if he will come back ok.  I think this is the first time I ever thought of time travel as something where you could get hurt and not return in the same condition in which you left.  The time travel aspect was integrated into the folds of the story entirely - it never felt like it was just thrown in there for kicks. 

With all of this time traveling, occasionally it was difficult to keep track of where in time he was and what he should or should not know at this time.  As stated in the blurb above - Henry meets Clare when she is 6 and he is much older - so she has known him her whole life, but for Henry, time is not linear so he sometimes is very confused as to what he knows. 

I was dreading the end of this book as it approached.  I became so attached to Clare and Henry that I didn’t want it to end.  I must warn you, this book is a tear jerker – at several points throughout the book.  I absolutely loved this book.  The characters are so real, true events are used, and the basic rules of time travel are addressed as well.  The 600 pages just flew by!  The book is also written in a humorous way – just wait for the part about Henry’s dreams, I couldn’t stop laughing.

This novel does have many romance elements but it isn’t the main focus and I would recommend this to anyone – men and women alike – everyone will find something to enjoy. 

If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Audrey Niffenegger:

her fearful symmatry

Her Fearful Symmetry [My Review]

Find Audrey Niffenegger: Website | Twitter | Facebook


I will hopefully have a review of the movie posted this weekend. I was waiting until I finished the book to go see it!

I also will be going to a book signing with Audrey Niffenegger at the beginning of October!

Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Great review. I really, REALLY want to read this!

  2. Really?! It does live up to the hype, huh? Great review so I'll be adding this to ye ole' tbr.

  3. This was an immensely moving book. I'm not much on emotional whiplash - I don't have patience for novels at the spectacular extremes of love or sadness - but this is such an entrancing spider web of a book, and about such real joy and humor and grief that I could hardly bear to put it down.
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  4. THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE is a highly original work from a seriously talented author. Niffenegger weaves her timelines with ease, never confusing the reader or leaving loose ends. She more than earns her place as a writer to watch.

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