The Time Traveller's Wife - Book Review

Monday, May 01, 2017 Hiba Moeen 0 Comments



"Why is love intensified by absence?" - is one of the strongest dialogues from The Time Traveller's Wife. Can you think of an answer? Perhaps having some occasional distance and some me-time are paramount in reflecting upon oneself and to genuinely continue loving, and loving again. This love could be refer to any relationship for that matter.

Well ... How has the long weekend been for you so far? Are you loving yourself enough this loooong weekend? I've been binge watching The Blacklist, knitting (making peace with a project I left incomplete), painting, and God knows what more I will do with the remaining time in what seems to be too good to be considered a reality. May 1 is a much deserved holiday for us, slaves (pun intended), and what more could we have asked for than having it on a Monday?! *drum rolls, TGIF and what not*

I thought of sharing my review regarding an interesting novel I recently read and I must say the well thought out narrative structure has the capability of having you engrossed until you finally finish reading what you started. Considering it was the debut novel of the author, Audrey Niffenegger, it's rather impressive how she linked the series of events and past, present, and future phases in the lives of the main characters while presenting a literary success.

The Time Traveller's Wife is about Henry de Tamble who time travels, a condition that later gets to be termed as the Chrono Displacement Disorder and is triggered when he is under stress. The odd part about his life is that he meets the childhood version of his wife when she is 6 and he, 36 as he involuntarily travels back in time. Or put in a different perspective, his wife, Clare Abshire meets him for the first time when she is only 6 not knowing that he would be her future husband, though in real time, Henry is only 8 years her senior. I don't know what the writer must have gone through while doing all the Math while keeping time travelling intact. Written mostly in first person narrative in Clare's and Henry's words, the author has the ability of making you feel as if you are time travelling with Henry as he keeps going back in forth in time, although he mostly keeps going to the past.

When Clare meets him for the first time, Henry is 28 and has no idea who she is yet Clare knows him very well, however, an older version of him. She has been one of the only few people since her childhood he can confide in as anyone could deem this time travelling condition as outright ridiculous. At the same time he has to be vigilant so as not to reveal to Clare regarding what the future holds since he has no control over the events that take place and he can't possibly alter them if travelling to the same time again; his mother's fatal accident being one of them as at age 5 that is the first time he travels a few days back in time. The car which he happens to be in with his mother faces a devastating impact and the stress causes him to vanish into another time zone, thereby saving his life.

Clare often nags him about the future and is curious about quite a lot that is yet to happen. She is often observed being anxious post Henry's atrociously long disappearances, at one occasion, Henry says, "Don't you think it's better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay your whole life?"

As he grows older and starts time travelling often, he has to resort to becoming a self-taught con artist in order to survive because when he becomes prey to his Chrono Displacement Disorder and travels in such a manner, he is unable to carry anything with him, not even his clothes. Sometimes, he has to steal clothes to guard his modesty while giving up on his moral values while the rest, people's wallets; he even teaches these tricks to the younger version of himself.

Clare is seen to have a decent level of maturity from her childhood days as she protects Henry and keeps him a secret. 

The novel gets a bit too stretched post these two characters' marriage, however, all in all, it's a good read and I was a bit surprised after going through some negative comments on Good Reads. The rather strange side is the fact that Clare becomes so obsessed with Henry and is sure that she would end up marrying him someday that she does not consider any alternative at all despite this being an uncertain notion. And the ending is something the author should have reconsidered, also Clare would once again wait for Henry for ages as she becomes old. Where would he disappear in all this time and would this condition be passed on to the coming generation? What approach would his child/children take towards tackling this condition? Read up ... for May 1 hasn't ended yet. :) 

And I'm going to end this on a phenomenal line said by a character, Raymond Reddington in The Blacklist (the crime show I have been drinking up these days), "You can't judge a book by its cover but you can by its first few chapters and you can most certainly by its last ..."

You've got to admire Jon Bokenkemp for this thought and having said that, I don't entirely want to judge this book by it's last chapter though I'm the person who read the last page of every book first. I know, I have my own set of disorders :)

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