February 20, 2006

The Time Traveler's Wife

While I was on vacation. I read The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, a wonderful book about a marriage between two special people. One has a metaphysical genetic disorder that sends him traveling up and down his timeline. The other sits around and waits for him. I've long been a fan of sci-fiction, particularly the kind that addresses the mind blowing issue of time travel. And who doesn't like a good love story. Audrey Niffenegger found a way to combine these two classic literary themes into one extremely original romance novel.

It's hard to write something original. There are only so many themes writers can apply to their works which is why so many books we read seem either comfortable and familiar or boring and trite. When an author can find an original way to relay a classic theme, it's refreshing and in the case of the Time Traveler's Wife, enjoyable.

Ms. Niffenegger likens time travel to a disease of the brain like Epilepsy. According the rules of the book, there are people in the world who have CDD - Chronic Displacement Disorder. In times of stress, their brains create an involuntary response and send unwitting sufferers to various points on their timeline. In the book, the sufferers can only travel through time as they have lived it or will live it.

Henry first meets his wife Clare when she's six years old and he's in his 30's. She's a little a girl playing by a stream when a naked man appears before her. He asks her for a towel so he can cover himself up (this isn't a Lolita story although Niffenegger does refer back to Humbert's character a few times) and Clare's life is never the same.
I don't want to give anything more away because that would ruin the experience and the book is experiential. There are many surprises, twists and turns.

I will say this. I like the author's approach for telling her story. She uses the voices of her main characters, Clare and Henry, alternating between them to describeevents and advance the story.

I did a search for the book and author to see what links I could give readers.

I found this one, that uses the prologue in the review. Once I read the prologue I was hooked. So if you want to get flavor the book I recommend you visit this review at ABOUT.

I also found the author's website, which still seems to be under construction. She's not just an author. She's an interdisciplinary artist and professor of art. I'm looking forward to seeing how the website develops. It already looks interesting.

She has an entry in Wikipedia.

And finally, if you want to buy the book, here is a link for Amazon.com.

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