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The Time Traveler's Wife Paperback – May 6, 2014
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
I was immediately rewarded. This book engaged me in the first few minutes and never let go. What an amazing and unique perspective on this genre.
This is a great story.
I liked the eighties punk rock references, but she doesn’t give any mention to Fear, Bonnie Hayes and the Punts, The Circle Jerks, The Commandos, etc.
Now that I’ve got what I liked out of the way I’ll only mention a few things that I tended not to like, the artsy stuff, the claw footed bathtubs everywhere, someone being held at gunpoint while duct taped to a tree and having an erection, someone being shot with a rifle by a hunter in the shotgun only zone of Michigan, putting frost bitten feet into hot water, the protagonist letting a guy smoke a cigarette while having sex with her, the alcohol and drug use, I could go on, but you probably get the idea.
I wanted Henry arrested for pedophilia and Clare arrested for child abuse.
About half of the time I read everything from nonfiction to westerns. The other half of the time I read sci-fi and fantasy.
Sci-fi and fantasy authors I like include Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Paolo Bacigalupi, Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke, Earnest Cline, Suzanne Collins, Abe Evergreen, Diana Gabaldon, William R. Forstchen, Joe Haldeman, Robert A. Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Hugh Howey, George Martin, Larry Niven, Andre Norton, George Orwell, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi, John Steakley, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Andy Weir.
I had mixed feelings about this book. Once I got into the rhythm of jumping about in time, I was very intrigued by the story. I thought it was an exciting premise and expected more twists and turns because Henry's time traveling is dangerous. However, the story doesn't really take that direction. It remains a story about relationship ups and downs, and love and loss.
I thought this book had many moments that were very thought-provoking or very moving. Some of those scenes or themes really stayed with me. At the same time, the story also got bogged down by a lot of details about punk bands they like, food they cook, etc. Dreams are often described in extreme detail (not my favorite thing). By around the mid-way point, I was getting bored and I would set the book aside for days at a time. I think you could easily trim 100+ pages from this book and not lose anything significant.
By the end, I was eagerly turning through the last 100 pages quickly to reach the resolution, and that last section had some very touching moments. However, there is also a lot of build-up to the final scene that occurs on the last 2 pages and I was a little let down by it. The final scene was barely more than a page and I thought more detail would have been nice since both the reader and one of the main characters are waiting for this moment to arrive. I felt a little sold short by it.
Also - a side note: Though it's called "The Time Traveler's Wife," I really didn't feel like I knew Claire as well as I knew Henry. It seemed like more of the alternating 1st person perspectives were from Henry's point of view, and I cared for him more as a character. I felt some distance from Claire's character.
Overall: Interesting premise. Pretty writing (though sometimes it meanders and the pace is often slow). Thought-provoking. Dreamy, sad love story. Just don't go into it expecting an exciting time travel adventure.
I recommend this book to anyone who has the following characteristics: (1) Slightly nerdy, and enjoys stories having to do with time travel, and (2) Enjoys books with a strong female character and (3) Enjoys fantasies with a hunky male character.
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