May 29, 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger


I first read The Time Traveler's Wife shortly after it was released in paperback a few years ago - but I almost didn't. I had bought the book at an English language bookstore during a trip to Japan - I was loving our time there but I was feeling quite disconnected from the comfort of my English speaking world and I was looking for a reading experience to take me back into it while I was still travelling. The Time Traveler's Wife was not the book for this task! I brought the book back to Australia unread and passed it on to my best friend who devoured it, loved it and told me I had to read it. So, I tried again - this time on home soil and with the advice of my friend - to just read the story, don't worry about getting caught up in the time travelling and the different times and places.

She was so right - because this time the book stuck, I couldn't put it down, it made me cry and I loved it.

I re-read the book last month as it had been chosen as the book for the new book club/group I have joined with another one of my friends.

I am sure so many of you are familiar with the story - Henry is a time traveler - through some genetic trait that he cannot control he finds himself slipping through time periods and it is during one of these journeys that he meets Claire - the love of his life. On their first meeting Henry is aged 36 and Claire is aged 6. The book moves through the different paths of their lives as they eventually meet in "real" time and begin to build a life together.

I have to say that, if possible, I loved the book even more on my second reading of it. Despite the unreality of the situation I find this book to be one of the most real explorations of a human relationship between two people - I can connect so easily to both Claire and Henry.

This book is now tied for 1st place in my most favourite of novels with Persuasion by Jane Austen - and to think I almost didn't read it!

16 comments:

Becky (Page Turners) said...

I am so glad hat you loved it. This is one of my all time favourites. Every time I read it a cry my head off without exception. I need to make sure that I don't read the end on the train to prevent everyone watching me cry.

Mrs. B. said...

Interesting...I tried this book twice and didn't like it. Maybe I'll have to try it a third time.

anothercookiecrumbles said...

Glad you enjoyed it.

I did finish the book, when I attempted to read it last year, but absolutely hated it. Know I'm in a minority on that, but the book just didn't get me.

Oh well.. :)

Marg said...

My goodness, I remember crying - big, ugly, sobbing crying - at this book!

Loved it. I did read Her Fearful Symmetry last year, but didn't think it was as good as this book.

Joan Hunter Dunn said...

I read it on summer 'lying by a pool' holiday and it was perfect reading material. I think I needed chunks of time to get into the story and not fuss about time travelling.

Molly said...

This is on my summer list of "must read" books.

Read the Book said...

This is such a wonderful novel, and I'm so glad you gave it another try! I cry every time I read it, and I agree it gets better with each read. Niffenegger references Possession, by A.S. Byatt, and if you haven't read it, you should.

Elise said...

I loved this so much. I haven't read it in years though, I hope I haven't outgrown it!

Karen said...

Hi Becky - This is definitely not a reading in public kind of book - especially at the end!!

Hi Mrs B - I have heard from a few people that this book just isn't for them so maybe you are one of them. I often give books a second try if I don't like it on the first but I very rarely give them a third chance!

Hi anothercookiecrumbles - I can understand how you would dislike this book if it didn't grab you for some reason - I think it would either be a book you love or hate - no inbewteen.

Hi Marg - I totally agree with you about Her Fearful Symmetry - I was so looking forward to reading it and I felt so let down when I had finished it. It didn't compare to Time Traveler at all for me.

Hi Joan - this would be a perfect on holiday read. I know I resented having to put it down to go to work when I was re-reading it.

Hi Molly - I hope you get to read it this summer and that you love it too!

Hi Read The Book - I have tried to read Possession in the past but I just couldn't get into it. Do you think it is a book I should give another go?

Hi Elise - I think you would like it just as much if you read it again - I found I loved it for different reasons with this reading of it.

JaneGS said...

I am an ardent rereader because often I race through a book to find out what happens next, missing the forest for the trees, and then when I reread I can simply enjoy the experience. I hadn't thought about rereading TTW, but I liked it enough a few years ago to warrant a reread.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Read the Book said...

Karen-It is definitely a book that takes some effort. My roommate said it took her a while to get in it, but she said it was well worth it. I agree! It is really just a beautiful novel.

Onesimus said...

Time Traveller’s wife was the last book I read in 2009. I included my thoughts about the book on my blog here:

http://out-shadows.blogspot.com/2010/01/last-first.html

To me it was a book with great potential but fell short in fulfilling it.

Karen said...

Hi Jane - I am often guilty of rushing through books too - I think that is why I do do a lot of re-reading - I find I can really take my time with a book that way.

Hi Read The Book - thanks for these thoughts. It does look like such a beautiful novel that I would like to be able to read it.

Hi Onesimus - sorry this one didn't quite live up to your expectations.

farmlanebooks said...

This book is in my top ten of all time too! It is great to know that it improved with re-reading. I will get round to re-reding it at some point.

Karen said...

Hi Jackie - I even want to read it again now! I might wait some time before I do that though...

Brenna said...

This is one of my favorite novels too! I have read it three times and gained something new with each read. (I also cry every time.)

It sounds like we have similar literary tastes. While Persuasion isn't my favorite novel, it is my favorite Austen!