Timey Wimey…..Stuff #1: The Time Traveler’s Wife

I love time travel stories. Or time loop stories. Or relived lives. Any of that sort of business. So I thought I’d start a regular-ish series of themed posts about books and more in this vein. I was trying to thing of a catchy name, I dunno, Time Travel Tuesdays or something but then I thought, its time travel right? It can pop up when and where it wants. Nothing to do with me not wanting to commit to writing one of these every week. No, not at all. *cough*

I’m sure the Whovians out there will recognise the Doctor Who reference in the title. I have vague recollections of Doctor Who being on TV when I was little (I was born in the early 80s) and watched it when Russell T Davies brought it back with Christopher Eccleston in 2005. I stopped watching regularly somewhere in the middle of Matt Smith’s run but my Doctor, well my Doctor is David Tennant. Even thinking about the scene in The End of Time where Wilfred knocks four times brings a lump to my throat and goosebumps to my arms. *Sob* So I stole the title from the most very excellent episode Blink.

Anyways…….I thought I’d start with a book which I love but also that means a bit more to me because of the memories that come with it. Isn’t that a wonderful added thing that a book can bring? Memories of where you were, what you were doing but also sometimes the person you were when you read it. And when you think back on it, it can bring that all flooding back….a bit like, say, time travel?!? I know, sorry.

So Post #1 in Timey Wimey….Stuff is all about Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife.

My original copy of this book dropped to pieces. It makes me sad that I don’t have it anymore but the reason that it fell apart is because I read it so many times and passed it on to others who read it and gave me it back so I’m glad it had a happy life!

For those that haven’t read it, the synopsis is as follows:

The Plot:

A funny, often poignant tale of boy meets girl with a twist: what if one of them couldn’t stop slipping in and out of time? Highly original and imaginative, this debut novel raises questions about life, love, and the effects of time on relationships.

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler’s Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare’s marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals—steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

The Book and Me:

When I was 23, I went travelling with a friend. She’d already been away for a month or so and we met in Sydney after I’d spent some time travelling down the East Coast of Australia. We were (and still are) both readers and had each brought some books with us that we regularly swapped along the way. She told me about a book she’d read earlier in her trip that she’d LOVED called The Time Traveler’s Wife.

We were in Los Angeles a while later, browsing a second hand book store for some new blood and she marched over to me and put a copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife in my hands and told me in no uncertain terms that I was reading it next. So I did. I remember when I finished it, we were in a hostel in Miami Beach and we were chilling in our dorm room. We were both reading and she left for a while to take a shower. When she came back, I was sobbing. She took one look at me and said; “you finished it didn’t you?”

Somewhere along the trip, we’d picked up an ear worm of a song that we both knew enough to sing but didn’t really know many of the words. We kept trying to find it but couldn’t (smart phones weren’t a thing back then, this was in about 2005). We eventually arrived in New York where we were staying for a few nights with a friend before we headed home to England and one night, after a few drinks, we tried singing the song to him. He knew it straight away and played it for us. It was Blister in the Sun by The Violent Femmes. As soon as he said the name, it rang a bell and I rushed off to my suitcase to grab my copy of the book. Flicking through, I found what I was looking for. A scene where Henry and Claire had been to a Violent Femmes concert and danced to that song. We were a bit drunk at the time and saw this as some sort of sign, but, coincidence as it was, it was a defining moment of our trip, our friendship, and my relationship with this story.

It didn’t end there, we went to see the author, Audrey Niffenegger, at an author event a few years later, and sobbed our way through the Eric Bana/Rachel McAdams film version together (more for the memories of the story it brought than the actual film itself) and I think it’ll always be something that we share.

Gimme more!

Adaptations

As mentioned above, there was a film version with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams. It didn’t quite hit the mark for me; its rare that adaptations do, isn’t it?

Not one to learn my lesson however – I am quite excited about the upcoming HBO adaptation starring Rose Leslie and Theo James. It is currently in production and is written and executive produced by Steven Moffat of Doctor Who fame so hopefully we’re in good hands there. Moffat wrote the Doctor Who episode “The Girl in the Fireplace” and has stated that he was inspired by The Time Traveler’s Wife for it.

Sequel

Audrey Niffenegger has been talking about a sequel for a while, though its not appeared yet. Its apparently called “The Other Husband” and she has been working on it since 2013 and will focus on Alba, Henry and Clare’s daughter.

I’m not sure how I feel about a sequel, its such a contained story. Niffenegger said that she hadn’t originally planned to write a sequel but had a good idea, so we’ll see!

What Next?

I have a pile of books to read for these posts, as well as some to re-read but if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! Fill the comments!

11 thoughts on “Timey Wimey…..Stuff #1: The Time Traveler’s Wife

  1. I loved reading about the personal connection you had with the book. I adore time travel stories as well (noticed the Doctor Who reference right away 😉 ) and am really curious about what other stories you will talk about in this feature!
    I had no idea Audrey Niffenegger talked about a sequel though, I’m kind of torn as well to be honest. For me, as sad as it was, the story felt quite contained and I don’t know if I even want more?

    Like

    1. Thanks! I’ve got a few things in mind – new ones and re-reads. Would love to add other media too. I’ve started Dark on Netflix recently, have you seen it?
      I totally agree about the sequel, given how much I loved TTTW, it’s feels like there’s a high risk of disappointment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m definitely looking forward to more!!
        Oh yes, I actually have a couple personal connections to Dark haha I think it’s the best German show there is. Such intricate storytelling and I was surprised by how satisfying the ending was.
        I can also recommend Travelers on Netflix, although I always wanted more seasons.

        Like

  2. I LOVE TIME TRAVEL BOOKS! We need to be best friends, ok?!

    I haven’t ever read this book for some reason, but I absolutely adored reading about what this book means to you. I love those books that bring such vivid memories to specific times, especially friendships or travel. Great post!

    Like

    1. Thank you! This post has been rattling round in my head for a while so it was good to write it, though now I keep thinking of things I forgot to put in!

      Need to decide what to post about for the next one….

      Like

  3. This review has been living in the back of my brain for the last few days since I read it. I enjoyed the backstory and you’ve sold me on the book. I’m going to pick up a copy sooner or later, it sounds awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

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