The Time Traveler’s Wife

March 23, 2009

As I may have mentioned ( 😉 ) I recently read The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and I promised to talk more about it.

The thing that has been putting me off doing this is just how do you do this book justice. If I say that it is a story about a man named Henry who travels in time it sound really sci-fi, but it is far from it. It is a love story. A beautifully written, many faceted, unravelling story that is both heart warming and heart breaking.

Rather than being the traditionally conceived time traveller Henry suffers from a genetic disorder that, when stressed, causes him to loose his grip on time and space, and he finds himself transported to some other when and where. His time travel has certain obvious advantages, but they are significantly outweighed by the disadvantages but there are disadvantages too. I left the crossed out text as it was what came to mind, but the book also talks of the complex relationship between cause and effect. Concepts like destiny and free will. Without his ability to time travel Henry would not have met his wife future wife Clare, or at least their story would have been very different.

One of the most striking things about this book is how beautifully it has been written. Unlike The Kite Runner which, whilst managing to be a good book, was pretty much an unhappy book throughout, The Time Traveller’s Wife has both highs and lows, which due to the nature of Henry’s condition were sometimes closely intermingled. This contrast between light and shade allows us to feel we understand Henry and allow us to empathise with him despite his very peculiar problem. The story is told from the point of view of two narrators, Henry the time traveller and Clare his wife. This has the wonderful effect of causing events to slowly unfold whilst reading, allowing each event to be told more than once from multiple points of view in increasing detail, with many events being foreshadowed by some Henry from the future, giving us yet another account of the situation. What starts out as a strange tangle of events all go on to mesh together into one carefully woven story.

This book is easily the my favourite read in quite some time, and as much as I am once again very late to the party, if in the strange Venn-diagram of the five-six readers of this blog and the five or six people that can read yet have not read this book, there happens to be any overlap, I strongly recommend adding this book to their list of future reads 🙂

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For everything there is a season

March 20, 2009

OK It might be unwise for me to claim that I am playing catch-up again as this seems to be becoming my more of the rule than the exception 😦

As I mentioned last time, I had recently read The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and I promised to talk more about it, well I was writing my thoughts when I found myself going off on a little tangent, which I have decided to separate out from it for you now.

Feel free to skip this post if you find it a bit too depressing, but this post is about death (It also contains spoilers for The Time Traveller’s Wife). I think this is the first time I have come off the fence on my blog and declared the fact that I am not a particularly religious person.

I will take a minute as an aside to point out (as I know this is a hot button topic) that I am not particularly anti-religion and I bring up my children to be Catholics as that is Mrs Geek’s faith. I simply have no faith. This is not designed as a post about religion, other than relating to death it self, but it is hard to discuss one without the other. (I actually find theology an incredibly interesting topic, but one I would find very difficult to condense not to mention trivialise into a blog post.)

So anything post-death to me is a big unknown.

This being said I have never been particularly afraid of death, mainly because … well I just assumed it would happen when it happens. But now, since having children, things have changed. I don’t fear it as such, but thinking about it now holds an element of discomfort that never used to be there. It’s not because of some fear of the afterlife or even of death it self, but it’s more like the reason a tired 5 year old will protest about going to bed, even hours after bed time. It is the fear of missing something. I feel like it would be cheating me out of seeing my children’s future. It is the fear that my absence will cause them pain.

I have a friend whose Mum did not make it to her wedding day and whose Dad died just a few months before she gave birth to his grandson. Thankfully I can only imagine the pain of not having been able to share these moments with my parents.

In the story, I suppose this pain was partially mitigated by the fact that he had travelled to the future before he died so got to see some of the things he would have otherwise missed, but would that be enough?

Alas, I don’t have the ability to pop forward in time to see how things turned out so I guess for now I’ll just have to look both ways when I cross the road and try to get back into the habit of taking better care of myself (I have been running twice this week … it’s a start 🙂 )


Catching Up

March 3, 2009

Life at the moment is manic. Between my day-job, photo-work, generally attempting to be less of a part-time parent / neglectful husband as well as captaining a failed rugby team it would appear I have been rather poor at doing my part to fill the internet. Moaning about being busy is neither entertaining nor unusual, <OverlyEnglishAccent>but one must do ones duty what what…</OverlyEnglishAccent>

Brief highlights:

  • To say Maggie is now crawling would be an overstatement, but she is definitely now mobile. Gone are the days of putting her down and expecting to find her where you left her 🙂 . She is our resident Sniper. She also seems to have developed a sixth sense for things she’s not allowed to play with – marbles, shoes, Lego, pens … These are problems we never had before as when we last had a Sniper in the house Bart was still on quite child friendly toys where as now it seems everything they have seems to have removable this and detachable that.
  • I Offered to host a family photo day for my children’s school, in order to raise funds for the “Parents Society” (PTA). Have now learned that I might have been better to have kept my big mouth shut as I have jumped through sooo many hoops already and it’s not until Sunday … Note to self … Do not offer self up as human sacrifice in future! Bad Idea! Not even to raise money!
  • Bart and Lisa’s reports came through … much as expected.
    • Lisa’s report gushed about this angelic child that works hard, self motivated, plays nice with others … all the thing you want to hear.
    • Bart’s report clearly points out, although through a vale of Teachereese that Bart needs to clam down and concentrate more. He is too easily distracted and could do better. However they then begrudgingly point out that he as aced his exams. – What reaction am I expected to give to that? He should be working harder … but he got 100% in verbal reasoning … so I would probably loose the argument anyway 🙂
  • Swimming, swimming, swimming … I seem to spend most of my otherwise free time, shepherding one or both of my children to/from swimming. Bart had time trials to get into the swim team, but being that he has spent the past year staunchly refusing to use his legs as anything other than an anchor, I fear it may be a long-shot. On the plus side is that Lisa just got moved up a class in her Sunday swimming lessons and will be swimming at the same time as Bart … which should reduce the time spent by up to 2 hours … unless Bart does make the team and then all bets are off.
  • I attended a belated Darwin Day lecture last Tuesday by Professor Armand Leroi which was fascinating. Once I found the lecture hall that is. I wondered if it was some form of selection along the lines of “You have to be at least smart enough to get to the lecture, in order to attend” Thankfully I just about scraped in 🙂 They obviously don’t have a cartography department in the university!
  • It is almost spring so I have been harassed encouraged to sort out our gardens. We bought the house with a very nice, fairly large, well maintained garden. Since the purchase I now understand that to mean “Time Sink”.
  • I reclaimed some of this time by “reading” The Time Traveller’s Wife via audiobook whilst doing the gardening. This book was amazing (I will talk about it separately), however it did result in a lesson on audiobooks. You must pay attention to where you are going to listen to certain books as I power-washing the front drive whilst crying over a certain section of the book some of the spray came back and collected around the vicinity of my eyes.
  • Mrs Geek has been arranging our summer holiday. Scouring the internet for camp-sites in the south of France in order to play catch-up on some of the sunshine that we are so desperately craving here in Not-So-Sunny Northwest England. I refuse to wish my life away (especially as everything to do with the kids seems to be so temporary) but I am SOOOO looking forward to three solid weeks of sunshine (barring unreasonable freak weather conditions!)

I am sure there are probably many other things that I have overlooked, but I will stop here or it will never get posted.