In a well acclaimed, tender, coming of age story, "The Time Traveler's Wife," opens with Claire Abshire, age twenty, and Henry De Tamble, age twenty-eight, accidentally meeting at her library.
Claire immediately recognizes Henry from her past but Henry is at a point of time travel where he hadn't met her yet. He suffers from Chrono-Displacement Disorder and moves through time without control.
Claire is a sweet woman who appears like a special next door neighbor or the girl you fell in love with in the eighth grade. Her love for Henry is intricately described so that the reader knows just what Claire is feeling as she finds her love, just as he promised she would, in the past.
The novel moves back and forth between other times and is told from both character's points of view.
We are also privy to Claire's and Henry's difficulties with time travel. Henry tells us that at one point he sees a young child die in an accident and wishes that he could go back in time so that he could warn the child's mother to be careful. However, he has learned that with time travel, he can't change history.
Claire has the difficulty of keeping Henry's appearances secret. She has to get food and clothing for him and when she becomes a teenager, there is also the loneliness during the time that Henry is not there and she feels alone and segregated from her friends because at that time in her life, she can't tell her friends about Henry.
There is some difficulty in keeping track of the character's ages at the various times that they meet since this happens out of sequence in the novel. Later in the story, Henry tells a friend that Claire first met him when she was age six. She met him in 1977 but from his point of view, he first met her in time travel, in 1991.
The love story was a pleasure to read and I enjoyed the manner in which the characters overcame the difficulty with time. I felt that there were times when the story did seem to meander but for originality and characters that the reader can feel empathy and fondness for, this was a superior novel.
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The novel tells the story of Henry DeTamble (born 1963), a librarian at the Newberry Library in Chicago, and his wife, Clare Abshire (born 1971), an artist from a wealthy family who makes paper sculptures. Henry has a rare genetic disorder, which comes to be known as Chrono-Displacement during his lifetime, that causes him to involuntarily travel through time. When 20-year-old Clare meets 28-year-old Henry at the Newberry Library in 1991, he has never seen her before, although she has known him most of her life. Clare's past is still in Henry's future. Henry begins to experience the events in Clare's childhood at the same time that he experiences life with the adult Clare in the present. In the novel, the future cannot be changed, and many tragic events are foreshadowed in the past.
Henry is unable to control his time traveling: when he leaves, where he goes, or how long his trip will last. His destinations are tied to his subconscious, as Henry most often travels to places he has visited or will eventually visit. Very often, Henry is taken back to the moment his mother died in a car accident that he survived, and is...