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The Time Traveler's Wife Hardcover – November 22, 2010

2,657 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This clever and inventive tale works on three levels: as an intriguing science fiction concept, a realistic character study and a touching love story. Henry De Tamble is a Chicago librarian with "Chrono Displacement" disorder; at random times, he suddenly disappears without warning and finds himself in the past or future, usually at a time or place of importance in his life. This leads to some wonderful paradoxes. From his point of view, he first met his wife, Clare, when he was 28 and she was 20. She ran up to him exclaiming that she'd known him all her life. He, however, had never seen her before. But when he reaches his 40s, already married to Clare, he suddenly finds himself time travelling to Clare's childhood and meeting her as a 6-year-old. The book alternates between Henry and Clare's points of view, and so does the narration. Reed ably expresses the longing of the one always left behind, the frustrations of their unusual lifestyle, and above all, her overriding love for Henry. Likewise, Burns evokes the fear of a man who never knows where or when he'll turn up, and his gratitude at having Clare, whose love is his anchor. The expressive, evocative performances of both actors convey the protagonists' intense relationship, their personal quirks and their reminiscences, making this a fascinating audio.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

On the surface, Henry and Clare Detamble are a normal couple living in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Henry works at the Newberry Library and Clare creates abstract paper art, but the cruel reality is that Henry is a prisoner of time. It sweeps him back and forth at its leisure, from the present to the past, with no regard for where he is or what he is doing. It drops him naked and vulnerable into another decade, wearing an age-appropriate face. In fact, it's not unusual for Henry to run into the other Henry and help him out of a jam. Sound unusual? Imagine Clare Detamble's astonishment at seeing Henry dropped stark naked into her parents' meadow when she was only six. Though, of course, until she came of age, Henry was always the perfect gentleman and gave young Clare nothing but his friendship as he dropped in and out of her life. It's no wonder that the film rights to this hip and urban love story have been acquired. Elsa Gaztambide
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reprint edition (November 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547119798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547119793
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,657 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Audrey Niffenegger is a visual artist and a faculty member at Columbia College in Chicago. In addition to her bestselling debut novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, she is the author of two illustrated novels, The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress. She lives in Chicago.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

925 of 1,020 people found the following review helpful By Diana on September 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"The Time Traveler's Wife" is one of the most interesting, powerful books I've read in a long time. Audrey Niffenegger did a beautiful job taking some of the most complex ideas - time travel, marriage, love, children, friends, literary and artistic allusions, religion, death, drugs, childhood, growing, loss, and what it means to be human - and weaving them together poetically and with amazing clarity. Her characters are wonderful, "real" people with strengths and flaws, and I really grew to adore them. Despite skipping around time at the same rate as Henry, the time traveler, the events are sequenced in such a way that you still witness each character's growth as a person, as well as discover many surprises along the way. Clare and Henry's story is one of the best love stories I've read in a very long time. This book also echoes important modern-day questions about the appropriateness of gene therapy, and what it means to be a human being. I highly and enthusiastically recommend this book.
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525 of 583 people found the following review helpful By crazyforgems on November 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I admit: I am an easy touch when it comes to time-travel books. I have loved such diverse books with this theme as "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", "A Wrinkle in Time," and "Time and Again."
I was not disappointed by "The Time Traveler's Wife." The book both moved me and challenged me to think about a number of deeper issues in life (most notably, the true meaning of love in a romantic relationship).
The underlying story concerns Henry, a librarian at the Newberry Library in Chicago, and Clare, his artist wife. Henry suffers from CDP (Chrono-Displacement Order) which whisks him from the present to another point of time (usually the past). One minute he may be in the stacks of the Newberry Library in 2003, the next minute he may find himself in a field (probably naked) in Michigan with his future wife as a child sometime in the early 1980's.
The author does an excellent job of sequencing the book. Even though Henry is shuttling back and forth in every chapter, she manages to move the plot forward. You do feel that you see Henry and Clare meeting, falling in love, starting a marriage and going through the stages of their lives. You do get to know their family and friends and see life happen to them.
However, I do feel that the author could have better developed all of her characters, particularly the supporting ones. I wanted to learn more about their close friends, Gomez and Charisse, and their troubled marriage. I felt that the landlady from Henry's child-whom he constantly visited in his time-traveling modes-was a sketch figure that could have been better developed. I wished that the author could have mined deeper into the inner feelings of Henry and Clare.
Still I would highly recommend this book to most readers. (If time-travel books bother you, this won't change your opinion.) It is a good, hard-to-put down read. And at the end, you're exhausted by all the travel!
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191 of 220 people found the following review helpful By Monica Morgan on April 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I stumbled across this book by mistake and hesitated to read it simply because it was 518 pages. To my surprise, I devoured this book in a few days and felt a pang of sadness when it was finished. The author crafts a story of something that is quite unbelievable and yet deftly makes it so very believable. I was hooked after the first chapter. Niffenegger managed to suck me in to this story so that I felt emotionally bound to the characters and their plight. It's a tragic story that weaves so much love/pain/joy/disappointment that it fairly bursts with emotion. Read it!
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78 of 89 people found the following review helpful By KTFaye on September 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
I truly enjoy time travel books, and so I was looking forward to reading this novel. I was utterly disappointed. Rarely have I run across a book where virtually every character just annoyed the crap out of me as much as they did in this one. The people in this book left me cold and I had no feelings for virtually any character, but most especially Clare.

Characters don't have to be likable, that's not what drama is about. The problem here is the author is all about tell not show. The writer tells us that Clare and Henry are devoted beyond all reason but we see few instances. I'm not talking romance novel crap, but hey how about an actual conversation once in a while. But we don't see into Henry or Clare's hearts even though, amazingly, the story is told in their voices. Almost everyone in the book is flatter than slab of sidewalk (except for the a couple of secondary characters who at least had racial cliché to fall back on) and therefore there was little emotional connection for the reader to the characters or for that matter, even between the characters.

The book was an easy read, and the ending exactly what I expected upon starting the book. But I wouldn't call this a love story; rather, it's best likened to reading the blog entries of two of the most affected people ever, rambling on like drunks who believe they have found the meaning of life after 10 shots of tequila. Lots and lots of filler that does nothing to move the story either forward or backwards. Oh, and excruciating detail on paper making. There's no humor, no "everyday" conversation, few emotional connections made between the Henry or Clare. By the end, while I felt sorry for Henry, I mostly didn't care what happened to any of them, particularly the excruciatingly dull Clare.
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