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 🙂


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 🙂 )