[Review] The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

Title of Book: The Time Traveler’s Wife
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 546

The beloved, mega bestselling first novel from Audrey Niffenegger, “a soaring celebration of the victory of love over time” (Chicago Tribune).
A MOST UNTRADITIONAL LOVE STORY, this is the celebrated tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love.


The Time Traveler’s Wife is the most unusual love story I’ve read so far. It tells the romance between Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire. What makes it unusual is Henry suffers from a genetic disorder that would cause him to travel in time randomly. His disorder makes their relationship challenging. There are times when Henry is absent from Clare’s life because he’s travelling some when. Moreover, his disorder also affects the way Clare sees her life. 
Before I delve more into it, I will confess that I don’t consume many time travelling stories. Time travelling confuses me. There’s the whole time paradox that would make me keep questioning the integrity of the plot and take the enjoyment out of the story. One time travelling story that I remember enjoying is Arrival. In a way, the time travelling aspect in this book is similar to Arrival. 
Henry sees time as a circular. Everything happens at the same time. This concept is similar to how the heptapods in Arrival see time. This creates a causal loop though, the origin of an event can’t be determined because all of them are happening at the same time. It gets tricky to the development of Henry and Claire’s relationship because they handle their past, present, and future simultaneously. Dealing with normal relationship problem is difficult enough; reading about their problems can be depressing at times.
Call it whatever you want. Things get kind of circular, when you’re me. Cause and effect get muddled.
One rule in this book that could eliminate the paradox is everything that has happened can’t be changed. But then again, it leads to a question whether or not free will exists in this book? Since Clare and Henry can’t change things that have happened so everything is predetermined for them. If that’s so, do they really have a choice in their life? If they do, their choices would affect the events afterwards and change the outcome. This idea is talked about in the book frequently. In fact, Clare once teased the idea of changing her choice. But in the end she chickened out and didn’t change anything because she’s afraid that there’s a chance of losing Henry.
Despite of the complication that time travelling adds to the story, in the end it’s still a love story. If anything, Henry and Clare’s story show us that it’s important to be in the moment and enjoy the present time. I even admire Clare’s commitment and dedication for Henry. After what she’s been through with Henry, never once she thought about leaving him. On the contrary, she’s the one who’s afraid of losing him.
My problem with this book is it can be convoluted in some parts. There are parts that I believe can be omitted from the book or at least shortened because what they do is adding unnecessary drama and slow the pacing. Reading the Time Traveller’s Wife was quite challenging for me but I’m relieved that I finally finished it. 

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