Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Review: The Time Traveler's Wife / Audrey Niffenegger

Book Review

  • Author: Niffenegger, Audrey
  • Monograph Title: The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • Publisher: San Francisco, CA : MacAdam/Cage

Audrey Niffenegger’s wonderfully crafted love story spans the time space continuum. What could be described as a science fiction or fantasy novel really becomes a character driven story that looks at the intertwined lives and the sustaining love of two people. Time travel is the driving force and the constant theme of Henry DeTamble’s life. But the driving force and largest impact on Clare DeTamble’s (nee Abshire) is Henry who she meets at the tender age of six; and Henry is 36. He will visit her on occasions he tells her to record based on a list that he memorized from her childhood records. Time never skips around for Clare; she wades through it one second after the next like the rest of us. When they finally meet in real time; Henry is 28 and Clare is 20 and the tables have turned. Clare knows all about Henry, but Henry has never met Clare. The science is explained behind Henry’s time travel, and though it is not realistic, it is more science then fiction. There is a lot of discussion of the repercussions of playing with events that have already happened. But always the real story is with Clare and Henry’s and their family and friends. The character stories and their lives are never overshadowed by the adventures Henry unwillingly finds himself on, more enhanced by his adventures.

This book is intended for adult audiences. There is both sexual and violent content. The intellectual and ethical debates of the book are best understood by a more mature audience. The book was an international best seller, and has been optioned to made into a motion picture soon. Because of the themes and the incorporation of lyrics, poetry and prose from other sources, this book could easily be studied in a modern literature class by an academic English program and therefore might be suitable for an undergraduate collection. However, because of the popularity and quality story this book should be picked up by most North American public libraries, at least in the main branch location.

Click here to view this book in our library catalog!

Sarah Strahl

Indiana University School of Library and Information Sciences

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