What would you do if you fall in love with a time traveller?
THE TIME TRAVELLER’S WIFE
- Author: Audrey Niffenegger
- Book Release date: 2003
- Movie: 2009, by the same name
- Pages: 518
The story is very original and attempts to explore the effect a chronic health issue can have on the long term relationships. Henry and Clare are both passionately in love and they attempt to have a normal life despite Henry’s uncertain lifestyle and frequent long absences when he would time travel.
Henry would travel across the timeline of his life without any control over the duration or location. He would disappear unexpectedly leaving behind a pile of clothes and shoes, and arrive at the new place completely naked, very hungry and at the risk of being harmed or killed. The places and times that he use to visit usually would have a strong emotional impact on his life. Hence he would visit such places over and over again during his time travel.
Initially when he was a young adult and before meeting Clare, he tries to cope up with his uncertain lifestyle with self destructive behaviour by indulging in copious amounts of alcohol, drugs and several sexual encounters. This was probably induced by the thought that he can never have a normal life or maintain relationships.
Later in life, he meets Clare and finds someone who would not only understand his rare genetic disorder, but is also loves him and willing to find a way to make his life more coherent and balanced. This new ray of hope helps him give up his self destructive lifestyle and seek pharmaceutical medicines and clinical treatment in order to find a cure.
The story is a narrative of the trials and tribulations that this young couple face throughout the lifetime of their relationship. They encounter several problems like uncertainty which are unique to them taking into the account of their unusual situation but then there are many issues like loss and loneliness that they had to resolve which any other couple might have to face.
The author have described the characters in a beautiful, realistic manner and expressed emotions which are very relatable. I found a soft corner for Clare who would not only struggle with loneliness during long spells of disappearances of Henry when he would be time travelling but also work around how to manage her and her children’s life all alone.
I struggled to understand the premise of the book in the initial 100 pages and at one point it frustrated me enough to simply google for some context, but then I refrained myself and decided to trust the book. I believe it takes some time and patience to understand the functioning of the life of Henry if you have no context.
The time travelling context in his book is also very different from what I have seen in other books and movies. Instead of being fun and exciting, the time travel for Henry is very emotionally draining, out of control and life threatening.
This is an unusual Love story with very beautifully depicted characters and heart wrenching emotions of loss, heartbreak and unconditional love.
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