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

Author: Sherry Helms

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a fantastic, fiction novel capable of amusing readers with its timeless love story, exciting writing style and incredible science fiction context. The novel has characters that you will love, a unique concept and structure.

Henry DeTamble is a librarian who travels involuntarily through time. A genetic mutation causes him to spontaneously travel through time, disappearing from view, leaving behind his clothes and possessions and arriving naked in another time and place. It is a curse for Henry who often has to turn to petty crime to feed and clothe himself and run from people, thugs and police. When Henry returns to his present time, he brings with himself the bodily injuries he has suffered back with him. Sometimes he travels back in time and visits an earlier version of himself. The place that he often visits is the meadow behind Clare’s house where he meets her during her younger years and she falls in love with him.

The Time Traveler is not an average time travel fantasy involving a machine and scientists eagerly trying to explore the space time continuum. It is a heartfelt love story of two people who must live with this curse. The novel pushes on philosophical questions of meaning and purpose.

Ms. Niffenegger describes the world so realistically that the readers will find themselves believing that some people are actually plagued with involuntary time travel. Each section begins with the date and the ages of the main characters and sometimes when there is more than one version of Henry is present, then multiple dates are mentioned. This is the best thing about this novel that the story is told from two different perspectives. This way we can see Clare’s fear every time Henry leaves and how his actions in the past or future affect her life in real time and to see Henry’s struggles to cope with his “illness” while trying to remain safe and keep the secrets that he shouldn’t reveal to anyone.

This is one of the most interesting and powerful book that is destined to captivate readers for years to come.

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