Review: The Time Traveler's Wife
October 30, 2005
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I attended a geek salon at halflab, and several of the attendees started discussing The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger’s first novel. Henry DeTamble has a problem: he has a genetic disorder that causes him to travel through time; unfortunately, he has little control over where and when, except he gravitates to significant points in his life, both past and future. What this does to his life, the life of his eventual wife (Clare Abshire), and their friends and family is handled intelligently and vividly, for the most part. More than one time paradox dei ex machina makes an appearance; one would have been interesting, but having several was a bit much. Niffenegger does a good job of tracking the different timelines and causal threads; she is a gifted descriptive writer, too.
It’s a love story and a time travel story. If it were a movie, it would be rated R for its sexual content and perhaps some of the violence that occurs. It’s mostly a redemption through love and sex story, I guess; but worth reading for the handling of the time narration and the descriptions. If you’ve ever lived in Chicago, you may especially like the reality of the local color (including Bookman’s Alley, in Evanston, which puts in a short appearance). I’ve never met anyone in Michigan, however, with three servants; although I suppose South Haven is where you would meet such a person.
Appropriately, I finished reading this around 2 a.m. this morning, at which time my Macintosh immediately switched its clock to 1:00 a.m.