About halfway through Audrey Niffenegger's debut novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, you realize you're going to be devastated.
This unconventional love story marks the arrival of a talented new author. Henry and Clare De Tamble are, by all appearances, a regular Chicago couple. Yet, all is not as it seems.
The Time Traveler’s Wife is Audrey Niffenegger’s second novel. This is the story of Henry DeTamble (the Time Traveler) and Clare Abshire (the Time Traveler’s Wife). Clare first meets Henry when she is six years old and he suddenly appears, naked, in the Meadow near her home: he’s thirty-six at the time. On the other hand, Henry first meets Clare in the library where he works, when he’s twenty-eight and she’s twenty. Henry has a condition called Chrono-Displacement Disorder, which has him disappearing and reappearing into various times in the past and future. This is ultimately a beautiful love story with a time-travel twist, which adds a different dimension to the story: humour in some parts, horror or heartache in others. Whilst reading this book can be confusing at first, once you realise that Clare’s story moves forward normally in time, and you remember to pay attention to Henry’s age in the headings, it all starts to make sense. Henry and Clare’s ardour and their attempts to lead a normal life, to have a family, in the face of his disorder, make for a memorable and deeply stirring tale. Niffenegger is skilled with prose and plot; the reader is held enthralled as her imagination is transformed into words. This novel has been described as enchanting, moving, extraordinary, haunting, compelling, a soaring love story: I agree with all of those. I laughed and cried. I so love this book: it is one of my all-time favourite novels. Writing this review has made me want to read it yet again.