Book: The Time Traveler's Wife
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Image via Heroes and Villains
No, the book didn't make me cry. I wondered briefly if that meant I had really fulfilled the requirement. Then I decided that a quest to find a book that would, in fact, bring tears to my eyes would most certainly be unhealthy. There is no doubt that the intention of this story is to make the reader cry so I'd say that's close enough.
I'm still working out how I feel about this book. As previously written, I am skeptical of time travel narratives in general. I do appreciate the fact that this one sets up the rules early: despite his temporal escapades, Henry can change nothing. At the end of the day, he is just another of life's wanders, even if his path meanders in unusual directions.
Here's the question I'm chewing on: how much does time travel actually add to the story? Imagine the same tale told without it. The Henry & Clare romance is a compelling narrative - yet somehow, it's not quite enough to stand on its own. Their everyday dealings with loss are easy to relate to: deaths of loved ones, confrontations with one's own mortality, miscarriages, etc. The time travel permits an extra-dimensional perspective but the science fiction fan in me is less impressed. Apart from the narrative convenience which time travel provides, there seems little point to it. Does Henry's abnormality serve a higher purpose in the end? Not really. It's a quirk, a novelty, a frequent inconvenience with occasionally tragic consequences. Is there any meaningful resolution as to the science behind it? No.
That said, there were moments in the book I really enjoyed. I thought the description of Clare drawing Alba while the latter slept was lovely. In fact, I would have liked knowing more about Clare's art. I doubt many readers know much about the paper making process so clearer explanations would have been handy. In truth, I found Clare a more interesting character when she was apart from Henry - less so the other way around.
As a romance novel, I would say the book hits its mark cleanly, even if I didn't cry. As a science fiction tale, it falls well short.
And so, I have completed the 12 Books in 12 Months challenge. I managed it in just under five months. I'm glad to have knocked out the first several during the summer as the going has definitely been slower once school started.
I would certainly like to do this again but I'm going to wait a while so I can read other things, too. Please send category ideas my way if you should have any.
I hope that you, too, will join the 12 Books in 12 Months challenge. Details are here. My own list and books read by others shall be maintained on the pages list on my sidebar. Other blogs currently participating:
My Wife - Wikes! Hikes on the Long Trail
Mrs. Mock - Exclamation Point (!)
Two friends of My Wife are also participating: TonTon via Facebook and The Hermitess via Goodreads.
If you'd care to join the challenge, please let me know by commenting below or e-mailing me at email@example.com. Also, please tell me how and where I can follow your posts. Don't be shy about suggesting other categories, either. It is my intention to compile a new list of 12 once this one is completed. My only parameter is that no one should have to buy anything in order to complete the challenge - nothing beyond a library card required.