Tuesday, January 31, 2023


Title: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Author: Audrey Niffenegger

Publisher: Zola Books

Pages: 537

My GoodReads Rating: ⭐

I must confess that I couldn’t finish this book. I struggled to get to the 100-page mark. Until last year, I used to make it a point of plodding on through books I didn’t like, because I thought it wasn’t fair to the author. But starting this year, I’ve decided that life’s too short and there are too many books out there for me to do time with a book that just isn’t working for me.

The book is written in the first person present tense PoV of Clare and Henry. Because it is Henry doing the time travelling, there are more accounts of his first person than hers.

They first meet in October 1991 when he is 28 and she is 20. Over the years, they meet often at various periods. While Clare’s life proceeds in a linear fashion, Henry’s is all over the place. I found it hard to keep things straight in my head. The past and the future was all mixed up. Beyond a point, I couldn’t see any significance to the accounts of their time together.

Also, why did the author make him time travel naked? It forces him to spend time looking for clothes, and having to steal and break into places in order to get clothing or food. He materialises and de-materialises suddenly, without any agency or control, this we are told. Then how does he manage to show up so often in Clare’s time.

Sometimes in the course of his travels, he meets older or younger versions of himself, adding to our confusion.

Also, if it was Henry having all the adventures, why was the book called The Time Traveller’s Wife?

Maybe these were questions that would have been answered if I had read on, but I ran out of patience.

Both Henry and Clare sounded so alike, I had to keep checking to see whose PoV was on. 

The closeness between Henry and Clare, especially when she is in her teens and he is his 43-year-old self, made me cringe.

I laughed out loud at the metaphor for Henry’s erection: tall enough to ride some of the scarier rides at Great America without a parent.

The impossible love story would have been more meaningful if I had been able to care for the characters. I didn’t like either of them.

I might have liked the book more if there had been more emotion in it, and if it had been thinner.

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