Ambitious work

07 Aug

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Amazingly, both myself and Rose Red managed to finish The Time Traveler’s Wife in about a week and a half, despite fighting over who gets to read it, and the fact that it’s over 500 pages. Fortunately, those pages are very readable, and the text is not too dense (500 pages is not always 500 pages).

It’s a weighty tome in more ways than one: for a first book, it covers a lot of ideas. An interesting conceit (protagonist suffers from uncontrollable time-traveling) is used to introduce issues of relationships, marriage, free-will vs. predestination, abortion, adoption, unrequited love, genetic modification, lies, phobias, family, and that’s just off the top of my head. I am glad to say, however, that the tone is rarely heavy-handed or preachy – characters are just presented as dealing with real problems and not necessarily having a clear answer to them (different characters make different choices without clear indication of which way works better).

It is a very interesting read if you can cope with the occasionally-random time-frame. The book follows a sort of chronological order of the relationship from Henry’s perspective (Clare’s is different – after meeting her when she’s 20 he later travels back and meets her at age 6, so she’s known him longer than he’s known her), but jumps about in order to present relevant past/future details at the point where they are most relevant (e.g. the traditional flashback to explain a character’s motivations).

Having finished, I found it interesting learning a little about the author from the biography in the back of the book, and getting some idea of where the inspiration for some details of the work come from (for example, the author has been heavily involved in book-binding and paper making, leading to Henry and Clare’s occupations of librarian and papier mache sculptor respectively). I also speculate (though it’s rather a leap given the information I have) that a lot has been influenced by her parents experiences (dealing with things like WW2 and the great depression).

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Posted by on August 7, 2010 in Time Traveler's Wife


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