Thursday, October 30, 2008

Awesome Book!

I happened to see The Time Traveler's Wife by Aubrey Niffenegger on the library shelf a week ago (I work as a page). I vaguely recalled it being recommended to be, so I read it - and it was awesome! It's one of the best and most though-provoking novels I've read in a long time.
The basic idea of the novel is that Clare is an artist for whom time passes normal, and Henry is a librarian who spontaneously time-travels and teleports - hereafter referred to as timeporting. At random times, he time-travels to a random place and time, usually within 50 years of his present. He stays the same age while timeporting, but his clothes, money, etc don't travel with him. He can meet himself, including when he teaches him younger self to pickpocket, steal, mug, and run to escape trouble.
The book opens with Henry, 28, meeting Clare, 20, in real time. Clare has known him for years, but he doesn't know her. In his future (his 30s), he has timeported back dozens of times to when she was a girl, eventually becoming a friend to her. (No awkwardness, just actually a very unusual friendship). They hit it off despite their unusual future / past. The reader then gets a very neat story of their unusual friendship (and later love story). The second part is less love story, but still very interesting.
The story is amazing on many levels:
SciFi - the timeporting is logically consistent, mainly because Henry's past actions make what happens now, which influence what he does while timeported, etc.
Romance - This is a good if untraditional love story with two believeable and entertaining characters.
Comedy - There are some truly funny scenes in the book, like when Henry teaches his younger self survival skills. It also strikes me as ridiculously funny that Henry mentions that Chicago's finest hate him because he keeps disappearing from custody.
Though-provoking novel - lots of symbolism, but also some interesting themes here. An English teacher would have a field day here, but even I appreciate it.
It's also very helpful that at every section, the date, time, and speaker (Clare or Henry) is given, as well as their ages.

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