The Time Traveler’s Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
This is a unique and wonderful story about the inevitable
love affair between Clare Abshire and Henry Detamble.
Henry suffers from a peculiar genetic disorder that causes
him to become displaced in time against his will. One
minute he’s asleep in bed, and the next, he’s in a
different place and time, sans clothes.
He first time travels as a little boy and has to learn to
fend for himself in the strange places he ends up. This
involves perfecting his lock-picking and pick-pocketing
techniques, as he must find clothing to wear and food to
sustain him while he waits to return to his ‘present’.
Henry tends to return to the most important times in his
life, for example, there are poignant and touching scenes
where he returns to the years of his youth and watches from
a park bench as his five year-old self walks happily arm in
arm with his musician parents. This is a happy time for
him, a time before tragedy strikes his family.
One day he finds himself in a meadow and it is here that he
meets Clare, she is a child and he is in his thirties.
Coming from the future, Henry knows that this is the Clare
that is his wife in his present. Henry takes on quite a
parental role with this child who will one day be his wife.
As she gets older, Clare falls in love with this strange
man who keeps appearing in the nude in her meadow, from the
The irony is that when Clare meets Henry in his ‘present’,
he does not know who she is because he has not yet met her
in his time travels.
The love between them is a very powerful thing and they
stick together through the many problems that his
This is a moving story, filled with both sadness and joy.
It leaves one with a feeling of optimism as you consider
the hardships of life and the things that make it all
Niffenegger conveys the innermost feelings of both Clare
and Henry with a deft and skillful hand. This is her first
novel and it really is a gem.