Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Review: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Just a quick little (ish) review to fill in over the Christmas break. I'm mid-re-read of Undead and Unwed, which I will review next week some time, and I've been eyeing up some presents under the tree that look like they might be books, so very excited.

Anyhoo- The Time Traveler's Wife. Basics, its all about the relationship between Clare and Henry, only Henry just happens to be a time traveller, because of some genetic thing. Yes, I am using English spelling of traveller. Because time travel is complicated, their relationship becomes this self-fulfilling prophesy, where Clare falls in love with Henry because he repeatedly time travels to her youth, and he travels back to her youth because he is in love with adult Clare and his time travels are determined by emotional gravity of the subconscious (totally nicked the "emotional gravity" off wikipedia but it was the best way of explaining it). 

Me reading the book was totally a sob-fest (mixture of happy sob and sad bawling my eyes out), and was massively intense to read, as I forced myself to read the entire second half in one sitting to minimise the sob-fest to just one evening. One of the best parts (and worst in terms of cry-inducingness) is that the twist of the story is revealed to Henry part way through the book, roughly just after you decide that all is well and you cant handle any more sad drama- one of the problems with being an accidental time traveller is that you know details of the next chapter of your own story. And then, for most of the book, I sat there thinking that I knew the ending, but Niffenegger doesn't give away the details and uses Clare's ignorance of what Henry knows to help hide some of the information from the reader, and so then, in the final twist, there is an extra twisty bit. and then further untwisty, 'should make it alright but it doesn't really' twists. And all this meant that by the end of the book I was very confused as to whether I was happy or sad. But, important bit is that I cared about the characters and what happened to them, LOTS, and if a book can't make you do that then it's not doing its job properly.
10 tears. 8.5 stars. Would have been 9 if I had the capacity to handle that much sad in one book.

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