The Time Traveler's Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Book cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

Book description

Now a series on HBO starring Rose Leslie and Theo James!

The iconic time travel love story and mega-bestselling first novel from Audrey Niffenegger is "a soaring celebration of the victory of love over time" (Chicago Tribune).

Henry DeTamble is a dashing, adventurous librarian who is at the mercy of…

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Why read it?

12 authors picked The Time Traveler's Wife as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

As a self-confessed hopeless romantic, I think the main attraction of this book to me is the often-overlooked human angle. While most time travel novels center on the hows, whys, and where, Audrey Niffenegger delves rather into the human aspect of time travel and its effects on those involved. She skillfully turns a book about time travel into a love story involving time travel.

This book is told from multiple time points. Henry and Clare fall in love, but Henry can’t help his biology which forces him to jump back and forth in time. The costs are high, their time together is often short, but their relationship develops. The time jumps confuse the characters as much as the readers, which has divided reviews ever since. I loved it because the characters and their relationships are bigger than the sci-fi idea of ‘chrono-impairment’, a trait inherited by their daughter. Knowing Henry will die at some point haunts the book, yet a clever twist directs away…

From Rebecca's list on where past and present collide.

Achy and angsty and spanning time, this story follows two vibrant lovers back and forth through the ages, teasing readers just enough to leave them wanting and needing a touch more. I fell in love with the provocative longing—felt it deep in my gut—which is what I try to accomplish when I write my own love stories. Emotions have to be authentic and real. They have to conjure up our own memories—however painful or nostalgic. That’s the magic of a story. The vulnerability and heartache that makes us relatable and human. This beautiful, affecting read has all the feels.

I love this book because it chronicles the ups and downs of being married to a time traveler who may disappear at any moment and be gone for weeks. Henry DeTamble has a genetic disorder that causes him to take sudden, uncontrolled journeys through time. He first meets Clare Abshire, his future wife, when she is six in the meadow behind her house and visits her often as she grows up. They finally get together when Clare introduces herself to Henry at the library where he works, but he doesn’t know who she is because he hasn’t traveled back to…

From David's list on science fiction about outsiders.

Yes, it’s true, the movie adaptations have been dreadful, but the book itself is amazing! A mind-bending love story with appealing characters that avoid the sappy side of romance tropes. It’s also one of the few books I’ve read where the logic of time travel actually makes sense. Bonus points because I always appreciate when a character’s “gifts” come with realisticand uncomfortablerepercussions. 

From Carolyn's list on that mess with time.

Traveling back in time would be fun, right? What could possibly go wrong?

If this is your stance on time travel, then you probably haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife. I didn’t read this book until after I wrote my own book, but I appreciated the authenticity of the characters’ emotions and echoed Audrey’s notions on the complexities of time travel. Going back in time would more than likely be a terrifying endeavor. It’s fun to imagine the Freaky Friday and Thirteen Going on Thirty scenarios, but if you’re looking for more “realistic” time travel vibes, you might…

Time travel is a tricky thing to write about. Too much science, and you lose the heart. Too much heart, and you lose the science that makes it work. Usually, authors tend to pick one or the other, but Audrey Niffenegger manages to keep them both balanced beautifully. As someone who loves learning about quantum physics and string theory, but also loves a good cry and a story with emotional depth, this celebrated book remains the gold standard. At its core, you have a poignant, intricate love story told in a delightfully untraditional structure. But in the tale of Henry…

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy was a good movie first and superhero flick second, which made it my favorite action film at the time. Similarly, Audrey Niffenegger’s debut novel nudged time travel from the main focus to a clever plot device used to explore a romantic relationship. More interested in the sci-fi at first, I was soon fascinated by how she wove it into the story with such subtlety and skill. Much the way Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh featured a blended family in Phineas and Ferb without making a big deal out of it. Niffenegger’s story also reframed…

From Derick's list on brain ‘splosion sci-fi.

This is the book I wish I’d written. It is beautiful and haunting. I was given this years ago as a Christmas gift at work and from its book cover judged it badly. So, it lay unloved for months to come. But wow. When I started to read those first few pages, I was mesmerized by the love story, the premise, and the beautiful writing hidden inside. Once, I missed my stop on the tube because I was so engrossed in it and was late for work. But since my boss had been the one to gift it, I got…

I loved this book for so many reasons. Not normally a reader of romance, I picked it up because of its title, and immediately became lost in the story: the very epitome of a “great story in an unusual setting.” I was delighted with its fresh take on time travel, when I had thought the subject had nothing left to surprise me with. I found the characters well-drawn and easy to like, and the trials they face, as a result of the randomness of Henry’s time slips, are described with humour, pathos, wit, and high drama. The ending, with its…

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