Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

VINTAGE, 2004/2003

A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger’s cinematic storytelling that makes the novel’s unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

An enchanting debut and a spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love, The Time Traveler’s Wife is destined to captivate readers for years to come.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a book that follows two characters, Claire and Henry, who in the future/past are a couple. Henry involuntarily travels through time and space, and sometimes even meets his older/younger self on these travels. This was something that in the beginning of the book took a while to get my head around. The timeline of the story takes odd turns because of Henry’s “disease”, and it was sometimes hard to grasp how the sequence of events connect to each other. However, after the first chapters it gets easier as you get into the story. Although the story revolves around how the couple work their relationship around the unpredictability of Henry’s life, the main story is still about two people coming together.

Already half way through the book, I knew it would end up on my favourites shelf. It just had everything: originality, love, pain, and relatable as well as oddball characters. There were a few side characters that were plain, but the ones in the core of the story were well-developed and interesting – instead of characters they felt like people. The main characters are naturally explored more as the narration switches between their perspectives.

I started reading this book when I was bedridden for the second time in a month and it was definitely a right book for the right mood. I won’t reveal much of the ending but I can tell you that the book is a rollercoaster of feelings that range from happiness and joy to heartbreak. The writing is colourful and emotional with beautiful sentences that make you stop and re-read the previous passage. One thing, however, I would change in this book and that is sex. I mean, it isn’t Fifty Shades of Grey or anything, but there’s a lot of sex in this book. I understand that it is a natural part of every relationship, but for some reason it took me completely unawares. Or maybe it’s just that the overall mood of the book was so tranquil that the bursts of passion and violence really stood out. In which case I applaude you, Ms. Niffenegger.

The Time Traveler’s Wife was made into a movie in 2009 (staring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana) and after reading the book, I’m interested to see how they adapt it to screen. Might even do a short movie review once I get round to watching it. In the meantime, I definitely recommend that you read this book if you haven’t already done so. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but that’s how these things go.


Maybe I’m dreaming you. Maybe you’re dreaming me; maybe we only exist in each other’s dreams and every morning when we wake up we forget all about each other.


3 thoughts on “Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

  1. I’ve been thinking about reading this book, but I wasn’t sure. I might give it a try now after reading your review. I’ve seen parts of the movie, and it seemed entertaining, but it never caught my interest enough. I have heard that the book is better than the movie but that’s usually what happens. Great review.

  2. I really liked this book and I like other works of this author too. In Time Traveler’s Wife the emotions were well written and somehow it can be somehow called realistic even in some way

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