Monday, October 09, 2006

The Time Traveler's Wife

by Audrey Niffenegger
Henry DeTamble has a genetic disorder that makes his life unpredictable: hellish at worst and emotionally jarring at best. During times of stress, sadness, or physical hardship, Henry travels back (or sometimes forward) in time. He has no choice about when it happens or when and where he ends up. He'll find himself suddenly hundreds of miles from his home, naked and hungry. Sometimes he'll meet himself, as a child or as an adult. One day at work, he meets a woman who gives him the strangest look. This is Clare, who has known him, sporadically, since she was six years old. But in his life so far, he's never met her. Their relationship is full of these strange causal loops, which Niffenegger guides us through with no confusion. Like The Lovely Bones (see below), this book uses elements of fantasy or science fiction not as a either a central focus or as a cheap gimmick, but as a way to get at the poignancy of every day life. Henry's time travelling points out the fragile timing that is at the core of all human relationships.

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