The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenger


The concept of time traveling has been explored in many classic tales, but usually the time traveler goes back in time hundreds of years ago where there’s no chance of running into someone she knows. What if you went back in time and actually interacted with your younger self, or forward with your older self? In Audry Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, the protagonist Henry De Tamble has a genetic disorder – “Chrono Displacement” – in which he unwittingly leaves the present moment and is transported backwards and forwards in time. As a middle aged man he travels back in time and meets is future wife when she is only 6 years old. He visits her frequently as she grows up, though when she finally meets him in the present time, he doesn’t know who she is, because in the present, he is just meeting her for the first time. Time traveling is not as romantic a notion as one might think. It is dangerous for Henry as he is always transported naked, and therefore arrives naked, and often in freezing weather and around unsavory characters. Henry must learn to pick-pocket and steal, just to survive.

The Time Traveler’s Wife has an intriguing premise, pushing the reader to think about the the actual ramifications of time travel. What makes this book special is the touching relationship that Henry develops with his wife Clare. Half of the book is told in her voice, so we see the relationship from both perspectives. This works particularly well in the audiobook version, which is how I read this book (through Christopher Burns and Maggi-Meg Reed narrate the book and do a lovely job.

Touching, thought provoking, highly recommended.

10 thoughts on “The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenger

  1. Our book club just chose this as the next book. Glad to read that you enjoyed it … I am looking forward to getting into it (as soon as I finish Middlesex, which is very good)

  2. This is a wonderful book, a memorable book. I devour books; it is the way I relax the best and most of the time, I like the books I read. But sometimes I can’t remember what the titles are from month to month. This book, however, stands out among the many. It is such a clever, touching, unique story that I didn’t want it to end. In fact, I think I’ll read it again.

  3. read the book twice just because i loved it so much.. middlesex was a wonderful book as well.
    two more books i shall add to the ‘must-have’ list are; my sisters keeper and the other boleyn girl :: just some advice from a book-crazy 14 year old singaporean ::

  4. I listened to this book while driving across the country last summer. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Went home and read the book which I also enjoyed. Highly recommend!!!

  5. I recently listened to this book. What a wonderful idea of “what if.” It made me wonder if there is really such a malady chrono displacement disorder. This book has all the element of a good story tellling: humor, tragedy and redemption. It is a story that stays with you long after you’ve finished it. A great book!

  6. Am I the only person who didn’t like this book? While Niffenegger is good at the technical aspects of writing — dialogue sounds natural, descriptions are not unwieldy, pacing is okay — she failed utterly to develop a single character, let alone to put any meaning whatsoever into a central conceit of time travel. Everything seems just sketched out, and she gave herself over 500 pages. I am a sucker for romance, and I was dreadfully frustrated with this novel precisely because it failed to deliver it. Someone please tell me I’m not the only one.

  7. I almost could not stop reading this book. The girl in the book is the same age as me and the husband is the same age as my husband. She has a baby in 2001- which is when I had my second baby and she talks about the New Your disaster with the planes and disaster. I can really relate to all of that. I cried through some of the book when he sees her and they make love for the first time and when he dies is just devastating. I couldn’t take the preasure. Maybe there will be another one to continue.

  8. Linda – you are not the only one! I just can’t seem to get into it. Actually, with some exceptions I think the dialogue is a bit forced. I agree that (at least at the halfway point) one can’t feel the romance, and you can’t really feel the characters either.

  9. I didn’t get into this one either- the characters weren’t well-developed, and I didn’t really understand much of where their motivations came from, aside from their romance, which was somewhat irritating to me.

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