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This is one of the books that has been sat upon my bookshelf for some years now, patiently waiting for me to read it. I am making an effort to catch up on my reading materials, and in doing so realised how much I had actually been looking forward to reading this when I first bought the book after it had been recommended to me by a friend. My paperback copy has the RRP of £8.99, but I always prefer to buy pre-owned books and found this at a local charity shop for just £1.00.
Back of the book blurb: "This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Clare's struggle to lead normal lives is both immensely moving and entirely unforgettable."
This book has a somewhat unique feature in that it has two main characters, and it flits back and forth between their perspectives. Each chapter is headed with some information that includes the date and age of the characters, which is essential to assist the reader in understanding the placement of the sequences. I found this quite difficult to adjust to, and it can be confusing for the reader when the story jumps back and forth in time. Because of Henry's time travelling, you often end up seeing the same event happen at different places throughout the book, depending upon when Henry and Clare are actually living the experience. It pays off to be attentive to the details and you really need to follow the chapter headings to help make sense of the variable timelines.
Because the story is focused on Henry and Clare as a couple, it is somewhat difficult to get to know them individually. They seem to be kind of an odd match: Henry is a punk music fan who works in a library and has been brought up by his alcoholic father, whereas Clare is a talented artist who comes from a well-off family and (encounters with Henry aside) has lived a more sheltered life. Henry comes across as being a very practical and logical character, and provides some interesting thinking points about the type of problems that one might encounter when time travelling spontaneously. Clare seems much more passionate and flighty, although she does have a very strong bond to Henry that cannot be broken. The idea of loving someone from afar poses a romantic situation that is racked with problems, and even more so in the case of Henry's unpredictable time travel that unexpectedly sends him away for varying lengths of time. I found it frustrating that the couple had so many problems to contend with, and at times they only seem to make things worse for themselves. There are many ups and downs throughout the book and it takes a deeper look at the hardships of a long-term, long-distance relationship than I have seen before in other fiction.
The book is split into three sections which covers various stages of the relationship. I very much enjoyed the first section which explores how Henry and Clare meet and their love starts to blossom despite the bizarre circumstances of their meetings. The second section nearly made me stop reading the book, as there are pretty much a full 100 pages dedicated to Henry and Clare's attempts to have a child and this dragged on very painfully. I personally have a strong dislike towards the subject matter and there were some grotesquely explicit details that I could really have done without reading. The third section regains a touch of the romantic tone, but feels quite tired and cold, I suppose in correlation with the trials that they have endured throughout their relationship. A couple of key plot developments seemed to appear from nowhere, as if for some sort of shock value, and although they were important I didn't really see how they added any value to the main events of the story. Generally I think that science fiction and romance are two genres that should steer clear of one another. In this case there is a fair level of regard for the science fiction element, with a clear stance being taken on the theoretical aspects of time travel, and an interesting twist being that time travel is related to an individual's genetic condition, rather than being influenced from some external event or device. I though the romance element worked well throughout the first section, but it started to appear more strained as the book progressed, and it didn't seem to mesh as well as the initial set-up of the pair beginning to establish their relationship.
Overall, I wish that the book had consisted of just the first and third sections. I really struggled through the second section and did not find it pleasurable to read at all, however by this point I was quite far through the story and had invested enough time in the characters to want to see how it all turned out. Following on from the wide-spread success of the book, there was a film version produced in 2009, starring Eric Bana as Henry and Rachel McAdams as Clare. I watched it some time ago before having read the book and it couldn't have made any impression on me as I can't remember a single thing about it, other than thinking it was dull. I am intrigued enough to revisit the film and plan to watch it again soon, now that I am able to compare it with the book itself.
This has to be my all time favourite book. It is superbly written with complex and believable characters. I would admit I found the concept and therefore first chapter difficult to understand at first. However it is a real page turner and brilliant idea for a book. In essence yes it is a classic love story but a story that quite literally transcends time.
When i started reading this book i got a bit confused as it switches from character to character but as i continued reading i was pulled into the book. The two main characters were very realistic and the main reason for me loving this book as much as i do is the fact that Audrey Niffennegger writes with such emotion. It is also a very unique book and i would say it is a science fiction novel for everyone, man or woman. When i came to the end of the book i put it down and cried my eyes out as it was such a wonderful and feeling novel. It isnt your traditional love story it is so much more and i felt as if i was going through the emotions with the two main characters. If you have seen the film i recommend you reading the book as although the film is very good the novel is even better! The main plot is a love story between two characters - one has a medical condition that means he travels in time, either forward or back and this can happen at any time without warning. The novel concentrates on their relationship and the obvious problems they encounter - it really does pluck at your heart strings!
When I read a book like this, I just wonder at how a writer can even imagine such a thing. At first, it sounds like a ridiculous concept - but keep reading and you are drawn into the fantasy and it blurs with reality. You know it can't be true, but you start believing it can be.
This is essentially a love story overcoming time and all odds between two main protagonists - Henry and Clare, and the author shows that love can survive anything.
Henry is a time-traveller due to a genetic disorder. Starting as a child, he has no control over when he travels - which makes life difficult in the extreme - although he does seem to be drawn to, and appear, in places that are emotionally relevant for him. The uncertainty of not knowing when he will next travel makes managing his life as he grows older (including going to University, getting a job and falling in love) precarious to say the least. It is due to the strength of the writing that his character in the book is well-developed and believable, and you want him to succeed.
Clare first meets Henry when he is an adult of 36 and she is a child of 6. A child has a more open attitude about the extraordinary, and the reader experiencing Henry's visitations through time, and through Clare's eyes, finds these bizarre events more acceptable. I must admit, this is the only part that jarred with me, because in my view, she shows an unusual reaction when first encountering Henry - I'm sure if I encountered a naked man when a child (or now!) I'd be very scared and my reaction would be to run! Clare shows great determination and tenacity to cling to love - despite the comings and goings of her partner. It is, however, a terribly sad and lonely way to live your life.
I started out thinking I wouldn't enjoy this book and absolutely loved it. I couldn't wait to pass it on to my friends and family. When I knew there was a film coming out, I wondered how on earth they could portray such a multifaceted story. But, as always (in my opinion) the book is better.
The story is complex in its imagery and content, and Ms Niffenneger is a talented writer. She has the greatest gift a writer can bring to a reader - the ability to make the unreal real.
Wonderful - you must read it!
This is a fantastically written book which got me hooked from the very first page I read. It is the first book by Audrey Niffenegger (the author) but I now want to read more of her work. It is a completely different genre to the books I usually read and I probably wouldn't have given it a go but something made me start reading it.
The story is about a man (Henry) who has the ability to time travel back and forth throughout his own life, jumping from his present back to his past and also into his future. He meets his future wife when she is a teenager (Clare) and it follows their intricate lives over the next 20 years or so. It sounds like it could get fairly complicated but it is mostly easy to follow. At the beginning of each section, which could be as short as a paragraph or two, or many pages long, it would indicate how old Henry and Clare are, so you would always be aware of what time Henry was living in. There were a couple of points where I got slightly confused and had to check the beginning of the chapter I was reading to remind myself what age he was but on the whole it was straightforward to follow (if you could grasp the strange concept of him travelling through time!).
Basically it is a love story with science fiction/fantasy elements to it. I thought the characters were drawn extremely realistically and you really felt like you got to know them. The author has written quite a lengthy book (528 pages) and it covers many years throughout, but it is not too long so that you get bored. It is hard to put it down once you're reading it and you can't wait to see what happens with every chapter you read. The ending is brilliant, I won't give it away but I just felt that it was a superb ending, so poignant and touching.
It is available from most retailers which sell books but it is probably cheapest to buy online at Amazon - £4.58 at the time of writing this. I definitely recommend reading it even if you think you might not like it from reading the back of the book.
The Time Traveler's Wife tells the story of Henry and Clare. They met when Clare was a child and Henry a middle aged man. But marry when Clare is 23 and Henry 31. These strange events come from Henry having a genetic condition, which means he involuntarily time travels to different parts of his life resulting in funny, heartbreaking, and strange consequences. This book is beautifully written and a great storyline. I have read it a few times now, and even though I know what is going to happen (I wont spoil it for any of you!) the end still makes me cry buckets! The story of Henry and Clare is both heart wrenchingly sad and very funny in parts. I say believe the hype and buy this book. I was recommended this book on a women's forum, and was dubious at first about trying it as it has been loved by everyone, and I was not sure if it would live up to expectations.
I would definitely say to anyone to read the book instead of watching the film, as the film does not even come close to anything in the book and disappointed me a lot.
I was told by a friend that The Time Travellers Wife would be a confusing book to read. The jumps in time are apparently confusing but as soon as I opened to the first page I found I could not put the book down and wanted more - even when it had finished.
The Time Travellers Wife is a beautifully written story of love but with a twist. Clare meets Henry for the first time when she is a child. Henry meets Clare for the first time when she is twenty eight. This doesn't seem possible but Henry has a rare genetic condition which makes him a time traveller.
I decided I'd read the book after seeing an advert for the film on television and I'm so glad I read the book first. Audrey Niffenegger has a beautiful way of writing and with each word I just wanted to keep reading.
It's definitely a book I will find myself reading again and again.
Time Traveller's Wife
After watching the film and enjoying it, I decided to pick up a copy of the book and give that a try.
Clare Abshire met Henry when she was a little girl, though Henry DeTamble first met Clare when he was 28. How is this possible? Well, Henry is a time traveller, that's how!
By the time they meet again when Clare is 20 and Henry, 28, Clare is already in love with him and soon the feeling is returned, though their life together is not an easy one as Henry has no control of when he vanishes or where he will turn up.
The book started at a completely different part to the film, though both worked well I have to admit that I preferred the books order as it made much more sense and did not feel so rushed. Straight away I fell into the story and fell in love with the two main characters. Although the subject matter of time travelling is completely out there, the way the story is written makes it all seem so real. The characters are so well rounded and the way the story is written in turn from both characters points of views really pads it out and shapes it into a great story.
I do not usually get upset in books, though I have to admit that I did get a little choked up near the end. It is such a powerful story as well as being sweet that it really touched my heart.
I did not think I would like the book (or the film to be honest) but I ended up really enjoying both. I fully recommend this book, though do be pre-warned that there are some sensitive subjects found within these pages.
This book is an amazing triumph, an original retelling of the 'boy meets girl' tale, and is thoroughly gripping from start to finish. Henry DeTamble firsts meets Clare Abshire when he is thirty six and she is six. Henry is a time traveller - a person with a rare genetic disorder that leads him to vanish from one time in his life and appear in another. He has met his dead mother, his own child before her birth, his future bride when she is just wearing pigtails. He has met himself on numerous occasions - even, in a both amusing and rather odd situation, experimented with himself.
The book is told from both Henry and Clare's viewpoints, with a handy title at the head of each passage which gives the year and the respective ages of the two protagonists. My one slight complaint is that, at times, their 'voices' were too similar and so I had to check which viewpoint I was reading if there was no immediate clue.
The joy in this book is in watching Clare and Henry's courtship, which takes place in a non-linear fashion through the whole of their lives. Their two weddings are both beautiful and poignant, since we know that Clare misses out on marrying the young Henry in her present the first time round so has a very private ceremony with him to ensure she is 'very married'.
The novel has almost two halves - the first unfolds slowly as we flit backwards and forwards in time learning about both Clare and Henry, and the various times they have met. We also meet the secondary characters, some of whom are absolutely delightful and none of whom are one-dimensional. There are ghostly echoes of bad times to come.
In the second half of the book we deal with the bad times. There is heartbreak aplenty and the story brought me to tears a number of times. The grace of Clare as she deals with miscarriage after miscarriage, having quiet faith that she will eventually have a child, is desperately sad and hopeful at the same time. Henry's realisation of his own demise comes partway through the book and foreshadows every glorious day they have left.
We were able to share the feelings of both during those times that Henry was absent - Clare's longing for his return, and her constant wondering about what he did and where he was; Henry's confusion and displacement. At times in his youth Henry was a person hard to like - as he stole and burgled - but his desperation at his fairly unique situation caused me to feel great pity for him.
This book was exceptionally written, sharp with black humour and warm with love. Niffenegger has taken a bizarre and surreal concept, and spun it into both a beautiful love story and a treatise on determinism. Philosophical musings and discussions on morality take place, amongst gestures of romance and sympathy for Baby Punks.
I was hard put to stop reading once I'd started - the short passages and lack of chapters invite you to read on and on until the whole novel is consumed. I think this will take its place as a classic, and would recommend it without hesitation.
This has been posted to Floor to Ceiling Books and Goodreads
I had heard a lot of good reviews about Time Traveler's Wife before I bought my copy and boy did the book live up to it's hype! This has to be the best book I've read in ages and has become my absolute favourite book.
The story focuses on Henry and Claire. Henry is simply a time traveller and Claire is his wife. On a deeper level though the novel explores the couple trying to understand the illness that Henry has and they try to build their lives around it but with Henry disappearing without any notice it doesn't make life any easier.
Henry's grounding though seems to be Claire, he visits her from a young age and their love soon blossoms but Henry is very much the gentleman when it comes to Claire.
The time travel component is the main focus of this novel but an equally emotional part is the relationship between Claire and Henry and how they deal with Henry's condition.
I think the thing that I really loved about this novel was how Niffenegger had harnessed her use of language. The prose switches between Henry and Claire but Niffenegger does this with such ease that it's a joy to read. Her language and dialogue are incredibly strong and makes you fall in love with the characters even more.
Another point that made me enjoy the book so much was the loving relationship between Claire and Henry. They had a deep emotional love for each other which just seems so much more grounded and real than say the likes of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. There are times when Claire is younger that you wonder if it could wander into a undesirable area but Niffenegger skillfully crafts her story so that it's not misconstrued.
I also liked how Niffenegger made time travel read as though it were a genuine condition and not just something that was imaginary, she went to great lengths to give it a scientific element as well as a medical one that made it all the more believable.
This novel has received a great deal of praise from critics and has been a multiple bestseller which is something of a remarkable achievement for a debut author.
According to her website Niffenegger originally came up with the idea in 1997 and the book was finally published in 2003 and has since been made into a movie.
A weird aspect I've found with the book is that because I think it's so well written and so well told, I've not been able to watch the movie adaptation. I have attempted to watch it three times and turned off after the first five minutes because I didn't want the film to spoil the book. That in itself I think is a testament to Niffenegger's writing as I've seen pretty much all of the book to movie adaptations that are out there.
This book can be bought in most major retailers at a RRP of 6.99 (cheaper versions can be found online) and there's also a audio version available with a RRP of 10.99.
It has a total of 515 pages which I managed to get through in a week because I was so engrossed with the story.
ISBN Number: 0099464462
The novel seems to be more widely available in paperback but I'm sure you can find a hardback copy on Amazon if you're a hardback type of person.
Overall this gets a full five stars from me!
I can see this is not the first review written for this book, however as it is one of my favourite books, I feel it is impossible not to write about. As a male reader who generally isn't phased by romance, I was genuinely moved when I read this book.
The non-linear structure can prove difficult at times, however Niffenegger compensates for this by informing the reader of the ages of the two main characters and the date, every time the time changes.
The plot goes that Henry suffers from a disease which forces him to travel backwards and forwards into time, whilst his present self remains, hence there are two versions of Henry in a parallel universe.
Claire's love for Henry began when she was six-years old and she met his future self in a field, and from that moment on, their relationship is tested in such a way that will never be experienced in the non-fictional world.
Despite the complicated structure, Niffenegger has produced an easy read which deserves to be regarded as one of the greatest love stories of the 21st century and it is a book for everyone.
I have just finished reading The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger for the third time and I have got to honestly say I enjoyed the book more this time around as I was prepared for the way the story jumps back and forth through time and the writing style of the author. The first time I read the book was about a year ago and to be honest I was not that impressed I had a hard time following the story as it jumped around and switched narrators. The second time I read the book I enjoyed it more and this last time I thought it was brilliant, There has been a six month gap between each read I don't just reread books over and over.
The book is in essence a love story. A slightly strange love story but in the end it's all about love.
Clare Abshire meets Henry DeTamble (what a great last name) for the first time in 1977 Clare is 6 and Henry is 36. Henry meets Clare for the first time in 1991 Clare is 20 and Henry is 28. Sounds a bit strange I hear you say. Well yes it is, let me explain.
Henry suffers from an extremely rare genetic disorder called Chrono-Impairment; this means that since the age of 5 Henry has involuntarily time travelled. He has no control over when or where he goes, He just pops out of existence in one place leaving behind all his clothes and reappears naked some place else in time. This has made life extremely difficult for Henry, he has tried very hard to live a normal life, he holds down a job in a library has a girlfriend etc. Occasionally he meets himself, sometimes he meets people he already knows but from a different time in his life.
When Clare was 6 years old a man appeared and disappeared at irregular intervals in the meadow near her house. Sometimes he was in his early 30's sometimes he was nearer 40. He was Clare's secret, and as she grew up she fell in love with him and strived to get Henry to love her too. As Clare gets older Henry does let slip the odd fact, such as they are married, but he won't tell Clara anything about himself. He says they will meet when they are supposed to meet.
When they finally do meet, Clare knows Henry but Henry has never met Clare. All of Clare's past is yet to happen for Henry, and so the journey begins...
The book is brilliantly written. Each part of the book clearly states who is telling the story, either Clare or Henry, What date the story is coming from and the ages of Henry and Clare at that time. Without this explanation the book would be impossible to read.
The characters or brilliantly described. I started to feel as though they were actual people. My heart ached for Clare on many occasions while I was reading. The way the illness that Henry suffers from is described makes it seem like a pretty believable thing someone could possibly suffer from. While reading Henry's parts I was often worried for Henry and sometimes frustrated by him too. I thought it was brilliant that Henry did not use his time travelling abilities (well only a couple of times, but that was because he had already done it in the future so needed to do it to keep things straight) to alter his own future, He had a whatever has happened will happen because it has happened theory on his life.
I also enjoyed reading about Henry and Clare's close friend, Gomez. Every where he went there was a cloud of smoke and he seemed so laid back and just took everything to do with Henry in his stride. His only interest was to protect Clare; there is a feeling throughout the book that he is waiting for Henry to disappear permanently so he can have Clare for himself.
I have to admit that I did have tears rolling down my cheeks as I got to the end of the book, maybe I'm just a bit of a softie.
I would recommend this book to anyone, it is a fantastically well written and original piece of work, I really enjoyed the writing style it was so descriptive I felt as though I had been allowed to enter into somebody else's secret world. Reading this book feels indulgent. Like a box of expensive chocolates, the words wrap around you and indulge your senses.
One of my favourite descriptions in the book is of a sunrise. "The world is grey. Slowly colour leaks into it, not rosy-fingered but like a slowly spreading stain of blood orange and then golden light and then a blue sky, and then all the colours vibrant in their assigned places, the trumpet vines, the roses, the white salvia, the marigolds, all shimmering in the new morning dew like glass. The silver birches at the edges of the woods dangle like white strings suspended from the sky. A crow flies across the grass. Its shadow flies under it, and meets it as it lands under the window and caws, once. Light finds the window, and creates my hands, my body heavy in mama's white chair. The sun is up." (Page 324)
If you read this book you will love it, if you don't love it the first time read it again in a few months, it is a book that steadily grows on you.
Thank you for reading x
Considering this book has been reviewed to death I am amazed anyone is reading this. However, I can see why it has been talked about so much; having finally give in and read in to so many advisers, I can say I was pleasantly surprised.
I think time travel has been done to death in science fiction, and everyone does it differently. Some do it with hand held machines, others with fabulous vehicles...some with worm holes. In the case of Henry, it is something else altogether; Henry does not spend his time scouring history for major events, or in deed travelling to the future hunting for lottery numbers. Henry's one mission in life is simply to live a normal life.
His condition, however, makes this near enough impossible. Henry's body clock periodically resents and he finds himself thrown back and forth in his own life, sometimes even meeting himself. On his journey though, his most meaningful encounters are with Clare, who is just six years old when they meet, and henry is thirty two. This work is written from both perspectives, with two narrators, making it a wonderfully rich and diverse read that flits about over the course of forty years as Henry and Clare encounter each other firstly in the past, where their dialogues are thrown around in deliciously confusing manor, until they finally meet in the present and begin their struggle to settle down and live together as husband and wife. Along the way they deal not only with the trials of family and friends, birth and death, but also the constant frustration of being separated by time itself, never knowing when they might meet again. Their relationship is a truly intimate one, if any book was ever written as a tribute to soul mates, it is this one; a love that has stretched across time itself.
I think what I loved most about this book before I really got into it was that Niffenegger looks at time travel as something else altogether, and simply states that we are simply governed by time, and move through it in straight lines; some lines are parallel, some cross. When however, she discusses time travel as a medical condition, as confusing as it is, it also make too much sense.
There isn't much I can share about the plot before giving it away. If anything this book is not formed of a straightforward story, more of a collection of stories and accounts, and of very real emotions. These characters were so real I did find myself worrying what might to them happen if I put the book down for too long!
What is wonderful about Niffenegger's writing and her characters, is they are so passionate, if nothing else. Everything about Henry and Clare, as well as the people they encounter in every day life (whether it's here or now) are so very realistic, especially when they narrate as children, and their wording is so believable. The only thing missing is spelling mistakes! The amount of detail in this book is stunning; its good to see an author do the amount of research that has clearly gone into this text. It makes the characters and every activity they partake in real, from the very intimate to the very mundane, and to something so bizarre as paper making; its one thing to say your character is an artist; its quite another to describe her pouring her heart into masterpiece after masterpiece.
I am not surprised this book has gotten so big and its being talked about so much; I could quite happily babble all day about this book. I'll admit it made me cry on more than one occasion, and since finishing it just a few hours ago its already been recommended to several people!
The Time Traveller's Wife.
This book I'd heard a lot about, namely about Henry, who suffers from Chrono Impairment, meaning he can travel in time, but has little knowledge of when or where he will be going.
On one of his travels back he meets a young girl called Clare, who, when she grows up, becomes his wife. Henry is careful not to mention anything of the future, and tries to keep Clare in the dark, when it is her future self with Henry telling Henry when he will be meeting her.
The book is bizarre, it constantly shifts time periods and different Henrys and Clares, but also shows how they fall in love with each other, Clare from a young age and Henry later on. The story is bittersweet, in that Henry tries to go back or forward to save others, and he isn't able to, causing him grief. It is also hard for anyone else but Clare to understand why this happens, Clare being his anchor point.
I've really enjoyed reading this, it's kept me gripped throughout, although I was a little confused at first.
The Time Travellers Wife
Travel into the World of Time
I have been wanting to watch the film for a while now though had not got around to it so when I saw the book in the local library for only £1.00 I snapped it up. From previous experiences, the books are always so much better than the films and I still hope to watch the film soon though at the moment I can not compare which is probably a good thing as this is the review for the book only!
Audrey Niffenegger, born in 1963, has lived in or near Chicago most of her life. She was trained in visual art and art theory and began exhibiting her artists books, prints, paintings and drawings in 1987 and it was not until 1997 that she began writing The Time Travelers Wife. She had originally imagined it as a graphical novel though realised that it would not work out right and so began work on the novel version which was then published in 2003. Straight away, it was an international best seller and has now been made into a movie.
Niffenegger continued with her art work and even taught book arts for many years and it was not until 2009 her second novel, 'Her Fearful Symmetry', was published. She is currently working on her third novel, 'The Chinchilla Girl in Exile'.
For more information on this author and her work, visit the link below;
It is always difficult not to give too much away in a synopsis of a book as if you are like me, you will hate a book being ruined before you have even bought it, so I will give away nothing and only outline as much as the back of the book gives away.
The story follows the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who first meet when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six. A few years later they were married when Clare turned twenty-two and Henry was thirty. Sounds impossible, doesn't it?
Impossible but true.
Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets itself and he finds himself pulled unexpectedly into both his past and his future. It is a force that neither of them can prevent or control and their struggle to maintain a normal life is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable for them both.
(Nothing written above is anything more than what is on the back cover - just in my own words!)
FIRST DATE - THE BEGINNING
It took me a good few pages to get used to the style of this book. As you may expect with a story of time travelling, it can get a little confusing at times, though for me, this was only really confusing for a few pages. The story flits back and forth between many different dates and times, though before each part, the date is documented alongside Henry and Clare's ages. This certainly helps follow where the story is and for the most it follows Clare's natural timeline with a few of Henry's future or past timelines. Not only does it flit back and forth between years and dates, it also takes on two story telling ways; the first being from the perspective of Henry and the second from the perspective of Clare. Again, before each part, it states who is telling this and you are easily able to differentiate between the two characters. The characters are written with such depth that from the very beginning you start to really get to know them, and as each part is written from the first person point of view, you also get to understand what is happening in their thoughts a lot better.
To begin with, I think my confusion lay also in the fact that the story jumps straight into it without any explanation. Luckily, from the description on the back cover I knew what was happening and it does not take too long before everything is explained up to date. I think it was a mere thirty/forty pages before I really settled in to the story, though please do not get me wrong - it took a number of pages to settle into the story yet from the very first page I was captivated!
PRESENT - THE MIDDLE
Before I knew it, I had reached the middle of the book and started to notice the subtle changes in style. Even though these changes are apparent, they run smoothly with the flow of the story and continue to hold my attention strongly.
With the start of the book, we tend to see Henry appear in Clares timeline though as we reach the middle part of the book, the storyline becomes more steadily set in the present time for both characters. Of course, we do see quite a few snippets of other times from both perspectives, though we are able to catch up easier with both characters. The action picks up a little here though do not be mislead into thinking this is an action book - this is a beautiful love story and one that will always stick in my memory. I have never read one like it.
The flow of the story seems to get a lot faster though this could be due to the fact that there is less jumping too and fro.
As this is an adult love story, it was to be expected that there would be some adult love scenes though what I was not expecting was the crude language. The story as a whole is written so beautifully with some use of crude language and so when I read the few love scenes I felt they really stood out in the language department. I do not think this was really needed and did not seem to match with the characterisations though this is the only real negative I have about the whole book so really this is nothing in comparison to the rest of the story.
There are a number of smaller characters as well as the two main characters and they are all written with such depth, changing and growing with the storyline and matching well with whatever age and time period they are in. I really felt a strong connection to the two main characters and really felt, alongside the excellent descriptions and main story line, that I was really living alongside these characters, seeing what they saw, smelling what they smelt, hearing what they heard...
SECRET - THE END
As with most great books, as you approach the end part of the story you are longing to know the ending yet at the same time not wanting it to end. The questions and secrets from scenes past begin to unveil creating an even more well rounded story and you realise that absolutely everything in the story is meant to be there, even if it didn't make sense at first. As the beginning of the book mainly seemed to follow Clare's natural timeline, the ending of the book was a continuation of the present day of both of them following Henry's time jumps backwards, filling in those blanks as seen from Clare's perspective.
I find the whole style and flow utterly amazing. To write such a beautifully set out story with everything in its right place, each time jump making more and more sense as the story progresses, each character growing wondrously even with the backwards and forwards in time - I am in awe of this author.
From start to finish, the emotion seems to grow as the story does. By the time the ending comes upon us, it is full of emotion which even a few days after finishing this book, is still in me and I can not stop thinking about this book.
Everything is tied up neatly at the end, and although you partly know some of the things which will happen, it still hits you hard and it is not until you finish the very last word that you really completely appreciate the story as a whole.
Although I know the film may not be as good (I can not possibly see how they can fit everything in), I am certainly going to watch that now as this book has really had an impact on me.
The story takes place approximately eighty years, though in the main probably more like forty years. This sounds like a long drawn out story though this is due to the time travelling aspect and it certainly does not feel that long. It is written so well that you can really see the time passing without getting lost or bored.
The story is time stamped many times throughout the book so you know exactly what month, date and year you are reading about, as well as which characters perspective you are seeing. At first, this was a little confusing though it only took a couple of pages before I was so captivated that I just fell into the story with all the time jumps.
The flow of the story is steady and smooth. You may think with the back and forward time jumps that it may not read right or may seem a little bumpy though please do not worry about this. Even with all the time jumps, it still continues to tell the story fluidly.
The language of the book is very simple to read, though also perfectly scripted and there is just enough descriptions of places and people without being overbearing. As already mentioned, there are some choice words within certain scenes though I easily looked over this once I got past the initial shock of it being completely different to the rest of the language in the book. It is something quite minor in the face of the rest of the book which is so brilliant.
There are two main characters within the story with a host of smaller characters, yet each smaller character plays a significant part in the story telling and events.
In turn, both in past, present and future, we get a great understanding of the two main characters of the book. Their background information does not all fall out at once, though rather slips out at relevant moments throughout the whole story and these moments do not always make sense at first, though continuing through the story will offer clarification on everything. The story is so cleverly written that the characters grow along with our understanding and although to many, the thought of the story being all over the place (time wise) would confuse things and not allow them to have a deep feel for the characters, that is certainly not the case in this book. I think the characters are even further explored due to this style of writing and I certainly sympathise, empathise and so much more for these two characters.
There are a couple of small moments with use of language as mentioned before which does seem to stray from the characterisations which have been built up, though this is easily overlooked.
The minor characters each have their own strong personalities and backgrounds and all fit well into the story. There are a great host of brilliant characters to support the main action and I even start feeling some empathy with some of these minor characters, though obviously not as much as the main two characters.
Overall, the characters are extremely well written and well developed.
The main genre is that of a love story through the years, though what makes this story different and stand out from the crowd is the time travelling aspect. With this aspect, some may think of science fiction, though this is certainly not the case here. The time travel story line is as large as the love story though is written so perfectly within the main story that you can really see this happening in real life.
PRICE AND AVALIABILITY
I got a great deal on this book at only £1.00 from the local library though it can also be found on Amazon from as little as £4.00. The RRP of the book is £6.99. Personally I would have paid the full price for this book as it is an amazing book.
As you have probably guessed from the review, I absolutely adored this book. It has stuck in my mind so much that I am finding it difficult to get into another book at the moment as none are matching up to its greatness. I have read a lot of good books recently though none compare to this amazingly written book. It is full of emotion, great characters and great storylines that I fully recommend it to all.
Just to finish off, I thought I would leave you with a couple of quotes from the cover of the book;
"Here's the next Lovely Bones...A rare book" (Evening Standard)
"Wonky, Sexy, Incredible" (The Times)
"Niffenegger exploits the possibilities of her fantasy scenario with immense skill: no wonder this novel has spent weeks on the bestseller lists. This is one of those books that makes you want to eat it up from start to finish" (Guardian)
"Pick up Niffeneggers book and you'll experience the visceral thrill that only a few novels provide. An elegy to love and loss" (Independent)
"Truly original" (Vogue)