The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Clare first meets Henry when she is six and he is thirty-six; Henry first meets Clare when he is twenty-eight and she is twenty. As a time traveler, life is not linear for Henry. Instead, he zig-zags. Yet, at the same time, there is balance and order to his existence, too... at least, when he has Clare. Before Clare, he lives moment to moment without purpose, without grounding; after Henry, she waits, in the dark, for time to bend itself just once more and return to her the man she loves. Clare's life is static, Henry's life is chaotic, but, together, their existence as one becomes a nearly continuous loop. It is as though time recognizes their need, their devotion, their desperation to be together and bends to accommodate their love – bends but does not break. As Henry says, time is nothing; as Clare lives, time is everything.
While one could get bogged down in the science of The Time Traveler's Wife – after all, most tales of time travel employ the butterfly effect principle, whereas Niffenegger's allows for the past, the present, and the future to meet, to dance together seamlessly for brief moments, in the end, it is meaningless. The chromosomes, the genes, and the displacement are empty in comparison to their results. Time traveling, in this book, serves as a mere tool. The real story is Clare's love for Henry and Henry's love for Clare; the real story is the life they shared together no matter how unconventional, or magical, or, in a way, terrifyingly beautiful.
It's also a story of four riveting characters. Henry, whose mind is fascinating, is someone I don't think I'd ever tire of just talking to. I want to go record shopping with him. I want to listen to him recite poetry... even if its in a language I do not understand. Then there is Clare: gracious, warm, effervescent Clare who sees the beauty in everything and everyone. Wouldn't it be amazing to look at the world through her eyes? Next, there's Alba. She's Henry's intelligence and Clare's heart braided together into hope and courage personified. And, finally, there is time itself. It looms in the background, haunting the story – the villain and the hero all at once, the puppet master whose creations, no matter how hard they try, cannot escape the tethers of their strings. It is Henry. It is Clare. It is Alba. It is us. It is unbiased and subjective. It is love, and it is hate. It is life; it is death. Time is what we make of it, and perhaps no other character has ever expressed that more clearly, more candidly than the time traveler's wife.
Five out of Five Stars
- Current Mood: touched
- Current Music:"Belispeak" by Purity Ring