The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry, who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry was thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Clare’s struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

My Review:

In Audrey Niffenegger’s captivating novel “The Time Traveler’s Wife”, readers are drawn into an extraordinary tale of love suffering from the complexities of time. The story revolves around Clare and Henry, whose relationship defies conventional boundaries due to Henry’s rare genetic condition, which causes him to involuntarily time travel.

Initially, I was confused about what was happening in the story. There were too many timelines and shifting ages of the characters. The scenes seemed to contradict themselves. But, as I read further, the time travels started making more and more sense. I love how the author has managed to showcase multiple timelines and even the same character being together at different ages. It’s complicated for me to even explain, but the author has done a great job of doing it. No longer was I confused about what was happening. The past, the present, and the future quickly started making sense.

The last 100 or so pages of the book take a really bittersweet turn against the really sweet and almost happy story unfolding initially. And, the twists didn’t blow out of nowhere. They were very gradually, very well established. And yet, each time something bad happened, it just hit hard, crushing my emotions.

The story is marketed as science fiction, but I find it more suited for the romance genre. Because even though attempts were made to understand at the genetic level why and how Henry was time traveling and similar genes were transferred into mice, not much attention is given to the discovery or the further plan of action.

The only main characters in the book are Henry and Clare, and the book alternates between their perspectives. The rest are often introduced but don’t play a pivotal role in the story. Henry is a typical older, mature guy. A classic fictional crush, he is a librarian and speaks German and French. Since he is the one time traveling, he has a different sort of touch with reality, unlike normal people who believe time is linear and live accordingly. Clare is the one left behind while Henry is on his time-traveling trips, growing from a young girl who meets an older Henry to a woman who deeply understands the intricacies of their shared existence. Her steadfast devotion toward her husband despite his absences is commendable.

The book is quite controversial, especially when it comes to a young Clare seeing and interacting with a 40-year-old Henry who knew that she would become his wife. To that, I would say that Henry is as tied to Clare as Clare is to Henry. Both are helpless in front of what and where the travel escapades leave Henry. Their blooming friendship, and later romance, are quite evident in the story. As they become closer both emotionally and physically, we see them dealing with their hardships while leading a happy and fulfilling life. Of course, it is not a life one would desire for themselves, but they end up carving the best out of it nonetheless.

The one thing that left me pondering even after finishing the book was to what extent do we have free will. If something has already happened in our future, and if we can’t change the past, how much control do we have over our present?

I finished reading the book in 5 days, and well, now I wish to read it for the first time again. But, if time is working as it does in the book, I am sure my past selves would love me for choosing to read this book. And, for that reason, I am thankful to my future self for reading it too! Confused? Don’t be! Check out this book!

Happy Reading!!