Thursday, 23 August 2018

The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger's debut book The Time Traveler's Wife is a story of timeless love between Clare Abshire and Henry DeTamble. The love story becomes different because of a sci-fi touch - Henry has a genetic disorder due to which he time travels. In fact, he could travel fifty years back in the past or into the future. 

Clare's perseverance and the endless waiting for Henry forms the base of the story; hence the book's title. The cover page is perfect too hinting for Clare's life is affected since childhood because of Henry's ability to time travel. On the other hand, Henry tries to lead a normal man's life. He tries to make no gain out of this peculiar "gift", except for a couple of instances of course. Irony is Clare's life is not normal because of Henry and vice versa.

The Time Traveler's Wife becomes a classic because it reiterates - past is history; future is mystery. Therefore, it nudges to live the present to the fullest. In a way, aren't we all time travellers ourselves - Shutting between the memories of past and uncertainties of future; often neglecting the present!
The book also explores how the relationships between people change. Early days are joyous, followed by crisis in the form of fights and grief. Somewhere in between, the relationship breaks even helping people to just stay indifferently. 

Author Audrey Niffenegger's writing shuttles between the first person narrative of Clare and Henry. It reads like brief accounts from their personal diary with the specifics of date and sometimes time. It lacks depth and a philosophical angle, which could have elevated the story to a whole new level. Instead, the narrative is flat, descriptive at times yet pointless and more often than not redundant, boring and lagging.  With a thickness of 500 odd pages, it's bulky and certainly not quick read. 
Other characters in the book are weird. They are all mostly self obsessed and a shade of dark grwy. Richard, Henry's father is an alcoholic. Gomez, Clare's friend Charisse's boyfriend/husband fancies Clare and Charisse marries Gomez anyway although she knows Gomez wants to just live with Clare. 
Also, there is shades of racism all through the writing and across the definition of characters.

The Time Traveler's Wife is about timeless love and memories. It travels through the thin pathway of relationship, carefully but falls miserably due to lack of dimensions and fails to create an impact in our minds. It just doesn't touch us emotionally. However, it's a one time read and lets you reflect on the true meaning of relationship. Try at your risk!

(Concept is good. Maybe execution was not at par)

- ‎I never wanted to have anything in my life that I couldn't stand losing. But it's too late for that.
- The best love is the kind that weakens the soul, that makes us reach for more. That plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.
- The cure might be worse than the problem.

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