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The Time Traveler's Wife

Cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife

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A modern love story with a twist that invites us to linger over questions of how life and love change over time.

This bestselling and innovative debut novel from Audrey Niffenegger explores the perfect marriage, one that is tested by challenges the couple can neither control nor predict. An imaginative extension of everyday life, the story asks: What if two people who loved each other deeply, married, and faced a life in which one person remained constant while the other slipped fluidly in and out of time?

This 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: triggered by emotions and memories, his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time. His disappearances are spontaneous and his experiences are unpredictable. Through Henry' time travel the couple attempt to live normal lives, but all of this is threatened by something neither can control.

A modern love story with a twist that invites us to linger over questions of how life and love change over time.

This bestselling and innovative debut novel from Audrey Niffenegger explores the perfect marriage, one that is tested by challenges the couple can neither control nor predict. An imaginative extension of everyday life, the story asks: What if two people who loved each other deeply, married, and faced a life in which one person remained constant while the other slipped fluidly in and out of time?

This 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: triggered by emotions and memories, his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time. His disappearances are spontaneous and his experiences are unpredictable. Through Henry' time travel the couple attempt to live normal lives, but all of this is threatened by something neither can control.

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About the Author-
  • AUDREY NIFFENEGGER is a professor in the Interdisciplinary Books Arts MFA Program at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, where she teaches writing, letterpress printing, and fine edition book productions. A visual artist, she shows her artwork at Printworks Gallery in Chicago, where she resides.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 4, 2003
    This highly original first novel won the largest advance San Francisco–based MacAdam/Cage had ever paid, and it was money well spent. Niffenegger has written a soaring love story illuminated by dozens of finely observed details and scenes, and one that skates nimbly around a huge conundrum at the heart of the book: Henry De Tamble, a rather dashing librarian at the famous Newberry Library in Chicago, finds himself unavoidably whisked around in time. He disappears from a scene in, say, 1998 to find himself suddenly, usually without his clothes, which mysteriously disappear in transit, at an entirely different place 10 years earlier—or later. During one of these migrations, he drops in on beautiful teenage Clare Abshire, an heiress in a large house on the nearby Michigan peninsula, and a lifelong passion is born. The problem is that while Henry's age darts back and forth according to his location in time, Clare's moves forward in the normal manner, so the pair are often out of sync. But such is the author's tenderness with the characters, and the determinedly ungimmicky way in which she writes of their predicament (only once do they make use of Henry's foreknowledge of events to make money, and then it seems to Clare like cheating) that the book is much more love story than fantasy. It also has a splendidly drawn cast, from Henry's violinist father, ruined by the loss of his wife in an accident from which Henry time-traveled as a child, to Clare's odd family and a multitude of Chicago bohemian friends. The couple's daughter, Alba, inherits her father's strange abilities, but this is again handled with a light touch; there's no Disney cuteness here. Henry's foreordained end is agonizing, but Niffenegger has another card up her sleeve, and plays it with poignant grace. It is a fair tribute to her skill and sensibility to say that the book leaves a reader with an impression of life's riches and strangeness rather than of easy thrills. (Sept. 9)Forecast:This was one of the talked-about books at BEA, and is exactly the sort of original literary debut that better booksellers love to handsell; a likely Book Sense choice could give it a further push.

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    HighBridge Company
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The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger
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