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?

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

I enjoy the occasional romance, but often want something more than a traditional linear structure with predictable character trajectories, and The Time Traveler’s Wife won me over completely.

Not only does it play with the concept of time, pitting two characters in a relationship with one another at various non-sequential points in their lives (Henry meets Clare when she’s six and he’s thirty-six, they get married when she’s twenty-two and he’s thirty!), but it does it oh-so-convincingly. What’s more, it tells a superb love story at the same time—one of the best.

This book captivated me the moment I heard the idea.

The concept that a man could have time-code errors in his genetic code that throws him randomly into different periods of his life fascinated me. Pairing it with a heart-warming love story where the couple meet when Henry is 36 years and Clare, five and their struggles with his condition is the icing on the cake.

This is an eloquently-written love story that involves you immediately, together with an idea that’s thoughtful and original. Despite the hopelessness of his condition, it ends so upliftingly well. It’s a story I’ve returned…

It was the concept that sucked me in right from the start: A regular guy who is diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock is reset and he finds himself hurled through time to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past, present, and future, with no control over when it happens and where in time he is sent. 

He meets the love of his life when he was thirty-six and she was six, yet they marry when he was thirty-one and she was twenty-three! I mean, really!?! Talk about ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances.

A great concept…

OK, so this one goes a bit further than blurring reality, to feature a man with a rare genetic disease that means the stages of his life are lived in a seemingly random order.

It doesn’t obey the laws of physics, but according to the rules of storytelling, it's astonishingly effective at provoking a powerful emotional response from readers. The final meeting of the doomed couple, which she must wait years to reach, and which comes long after his earlier death, is one of the most emotional passages I’ve ever read.

As a whole the book teaches us that every…

I’ve always been drawn to time travel stories – Back To The Future is my favourite film of all time, and it’s also why my debut, had a large dollop of time travel in it.

The Time Traveler’s Wife tells the story of Henry and Clare whose love story is doomed from the start – Henry inadvertently travels through time, and only meets Clare at certain points in her life. I’m fascinated not only by the idea of time travel, but also by the idea that love can conquer anything – even not being in the same time.

A huge,…

This novel (and film) divides the time travel fan community. I get it. Is it too sappy to be science fiction? Is it too abstract to be a love story? I had never read nor seen the film until a fellow author had read my own novel and said how much parts of it reminded her of Time Traveler’s Wife, just minus the overly sappy romance. This made me check it out, and I did see how the main character can transport through no explanation (and no time machine!). It just … happens. I knew my novel was going…

This book is a real charmer, and it follows an unusual means of time travel—a genetic mutation in the traveler. The story is told primarily from the viewpoint of the traveler’s wife, Claire, who has known Henry from childhood and well before they meet in “real life.” I liked that the story was unsparing in its consistency: when Henry travels, he always arrives naked and barefoot—the clothes don’t go with him—so his first challenge is running and finding something to wear.

From Thomas' list on with unusual ways to travel in time.

I wasn’t sure I’d like this book. I thought it might be more of a romance, not really my cup of tea. And certainly there were romantic elements. But really it was just a great story about a guy with an unusual problem: flitting through time when he least expected it, and woman with a related problem: falling in love with a guy living their life together out of order. A terrific concept expertly executed. 

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.

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