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Michelle

Audrey Niffenegger - The Time Traveller's Wife

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Ah. I read the last third of this in the middle of the night. What a fantastic book. I think the more I think about it the happier I am with how well the book worked, how well it avoided the big paradoxes.

 

What really got me was the way that it made clear that for Henry at least the future and past were fixed and immutable, but that what was going to happen to him began to crystallise over the preceding years from his earlier visits. And the story crystallised that future, too, slowly. I'm still intrigued that he didn't ever try and change the past, though, just to see what would happen.

 

Although it was a love story, I didn't think it was particularly girly, really. It's clearly not a driven action book, but the characters weren't particularly girly (even Clare and Alba seem to be quite tomboyish).

 

There were some technical points, such as the lottery incident, where Henry seems to travel forwards when he chooses to, and clarify things about the past, even though in theory he really struggles when travelling forwards.

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Do Not read if you have not finished the book!!!

 

 

I am sad. Not the tears coursing down my face sadness that I had in the early hours of this morning when I finished this book, but another sadness - as if I have lost something dear to me...or have had a huge fight with someone I love. I must say that I wasted some time thinking why Harry did not change the end....he could have!!! He should have gone back and warned Claire to hide the guns or something! He should have as well! It's so sad. (Unbelievable how one ficticious death can have this effect on me, when usually I read books where I am knee deep in bodies by the end of the first chapter - and am eagerly waiting for more.) I am also sad cause I know that even if the author writes six other books which are very good - not one of them will be as good as this one - (rather like Dan Brown trying to top "The Da Vinci Code"). And I have finished this one. And I am still thinking about it. Have also been thinking about it on my way to work. It is one heck of a story! ................................And I am still not sure who I feel sorry more for - Harry or Clare. :D

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Ditto, do not read, etc...

 

But, Mau, if he had told Clare to hide the guns one of two things would have happened - either Henry's past and future are (and were) always immutable, because that's the nature of his time travel, and there was never anything he could do. His future was always going to happen.

 

But worse, if he messed with the past he could ruin his present, he could change everything, and it might mean that he never met Clare, and never had Alba, and was that a risk worth taking?

 

One aspect that interested me was the way the Henry led up to the end of the story in the manner of the terminally ill. I saw parallels (which were obvious) of people with terminal cancers, trying to tie up all the loose ends.

 

I did wonder, in particular, though, whether he was inordinately mean telling Clare that they'd meet again in the distant future. Because that might be the thing that puts her life on hold, that leaves her waiting for him rather than going off and doing other stuff of her own.

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ANOTHER DO NOT READ BIT

 

I did wonder, in particular, though, whether he was inordinately mean telling Clare that they'd meet again in the distant future. Because that might be the thing that puts her life on hold, that leaves her waiting for him rather than going off and doing other stuff of her own.

I was rather upset at him for that too - it meant that Clare could never fully move on, because she knew that a) she would see him very briefly with their daughter when the little 'un was about 10, & that she would see him again as an old woman. That made me sad, that he wouldn't think about that & want to see her happy with someone else after he was gone. Almost like he WANTED her to wait for him on some level.

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The thing is...Clare always knew that he could "visit" her in the future. What he did is he told her that he will come to her only once...when she is old....you could say that he told her to get on with her life because he will only see her when she is old....although perhaps not in so many words...(Why just once when he could visit Alba?)

 

 

either Henry's past and future are (and were) always immutable,
..yes Andy I know...and I think that is the cruellest thing of all.

 

Also he seemed to be getting seriously ill towards the end.....but the story did not explore that .....perhaps his "abrupt" death spared him a long painful illness..........it was already bad that he ended in a wheel chair....it is really sad!

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It seems like we all enjoyed this one then. :D

 

I was disappointed over the lottery win - everything else had to go along as it should, even his death. The lottery bit seemed like really cheating, it was an easy way for the author to get them some money.

 

Back to more important matters though.. I also thought that Clare would always be waiting for that last meet.

 

With regards to his death, maybe he knew deep down it would be for the best. He needed to run, and that was taken from him when he lost his feet. It also made time travel extremely difficult.. image the situations he could find himself in.

 

The part where he witnessed Ingrids suicide was also so well written.

 

I also agree with Maureen.. the author is going to have a hard time following this one up.

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but the phsyical danger she is put in must put terrible strain on the relationship.
Harry has to put up with physical danger all his life though....with all the popping here and there......

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True, but that's something neither one of themcan help - it's Henry's irresponsibility that, in the end, gives her the child she so desperately wants, even though it could have killed her.

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I was chatting to a mate about this, and he pointed out something rather interesting. The book, though it is written in this nice romantic fiction kind of way is, at the very least, very ambiguous about the effects of love. With someone staying in a loveless marriage in the hope of getting back with the woman he loved; with that woman apparently living a spinsters life for years to arrive in an unworkable relationship, and then apparently waiting another 50 years to see that person one more time. And another who commits suicide after a single, short, failed relationship. And another man who's lived loveless and decaying for 40 years after his wife died young.

 

It's actually a pretty damned dark book, when you look at it.

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Crikey, you're right, Andy - it's pretty bleak when you look at it like that!

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Well, love in real life is not easy to find, nor does it come with a g/tee that it lasts forever, or can be replaced or retargeted at someone else......but it is the greatest thing on earth when it happens. It can also be the most heartbreaking feeling on earth if it is not reciprocated.

Just like in TTW.

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The more I think about this, the more satifying the end becomes. If the book is a book about love, but about love being awkward, and fickle, and mucking people around for their entire lives, then the previously unsatisfying ending, although still not "happy" in the way an ideal world would produce, is much more in keeping with the whole timbre of the book.

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i agree - it's defniitely more about the harsh realities of relationships, getting to grips with being with someone who you can know so well & yet still have them be a stranger, keeping secrets from one another, working out your problems & trying to just keep it all together - if that's not a real relationship, i don't know what is. Niffenegger certainly writes it well. I think it's a contemporary classic that will most certainly stand the test of time & have people talking about it many years from now. It's made of the kind of stuff that endures.

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i found this book very sad at end but highly enjoyable and unputdownable.loved the way towards the end there were hints that others were beginning to show symptoms of time displacement as well-reminded me a little of a book called retro lives by lee rimes but that was more to do with a form of alzheimers that occured every ten years or so in peoples lives and caused the males in the family to mentally switch back to periods of past even though were physically still in present.

this meant that they couldn't understand who people were in their on family because they didn't believe they could be as old as they were when they still remembered them as being the same age.an old book but if you see it second hand would reccomend picking it up.read it several years back....anyway back to TTW-yeah this book was a literary classic i thought.very good stuff

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I finished reading this book and Kell suggested I post my comments on this topic :hyper: Seems a while since anyone did but nevermind.

 

It was a good book, well written, tugged at the heart strings. It has to be a good book if by the end of it I was willing things not to happen and shedding a few tears (don't want to give too much away).

 

I think it's a good book on the imperfections of relationships. Nothing is perfect, least of all love. Niffenegger manages to illustrate this in numerous ways and shows that even the best relationships have their crosses to bare. For Clare and Henry this is coping with the unpredictability of his condition and Clare's desperation for a child which Henry does not necessarily share 100%. Each of them is able to reach some level of understanding about the other to cope though. Clare accepts to an extent Henry's condition and lives with it, while Henry is able to see what it means to Clare to have a child (and ultimately helps her to do so).

 

Any book that involves moving backwards and forwards in time and space at random is going to have a difficult job keeping their audience from total confusion. This has to be one of the best efforts I've read though. Yes, there is always a small element of confusion, but I feel it adds something to the book. It echoes the confusion of the characters at various points (e.g. Henry when he *first* meets Clare when he's 28, Clare's confusion over various points in her youth about Henry, various members of Clare's family feeling like they've seen Henry before, Gomez's confusion over seeing Clare and Henry together when he's supposedly dating someone else etc etc). Yet for the most part you could still follow the storyline.

 

 

It is a very cleverly crafted book, with characters with depth and enough imperfections to keep them interesting. Even Alba sounds slightly pretentious. It's what keeps the story real. No angels and no devils.

 

I would definitely recommend this to others, though not if you are in a particularly emotional place.

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Sorry but I must the one that was glad to finish the book. It was ok but would not recommend it. I was very happy to finish it

Well, I think you're very definitely in the minority as most people seem to have loved it, but it's good to have varied opinions. :lol:

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Well, I think you're very definitely in the minority as most people seem to have loved it, but it's good to have varied opinions. :lol:

 

Everybody who I know who has got into it has loved it and rates it up there with other favourites

 

However, I've never known a book that so many people just can't get into. Neither my parents nor my boss could get past the first few pages, unusual with all of them

 

So maybe it's another that polarises opinion, as so many great works are?

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Sigh -- what a good book this was, I just did not want it to end!

 

I was the same when I read it. I was on holiday at the time and lay in the sun devouring most of the book in two days. the last three chapters I dragged out over a whole day as I couldn't bear it to finish

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I like happy endings, especially sentimental ones, so this book is high on my happy list.

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