The Time Traveler’s Wife is definitely a story that shows love can transcend time and space, and by far the most moving novel I have seen.
First published in 2003, is the debut novel of American author Audrey Niffenegger. It is a love story about a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and about his wife, an artist who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences.
The novel, which has been classified as both science fiction and romance, examines issues of love, loss, and free will. In particular, it uses time travel to explore miscommunication and distance in relationships. It also investigates deeper existential questions.
Here’s my most memorable excerpts that I love in the book:
“It’s hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is,
wondering if he’s okay. It’s hard to be the one who stays. I keep myself busy. Time goes faster that way.
I go to sleep alone, and wake up alone. I take walks. I work until I’m tired. I watch the wind play with the trash that’s been under the snow all winter. Everything seems simple until you think about it. Why is love intensified by absence?
Long ago, men went to sea, and women waited for them, standing on the edge of
the water, scanning the horizon for the tiny ship. Now I wait for Henry. He vanishes
unwillingly, without warning. I wait for him. Each moment that I wait feels like a
year, an eternity. Each moment is as slow and transparent as glass. Through each
moment I can see infinite moments lined up, waiting. Why has he gone where I
“I wish for a moment that Time would lift me out of this day, and into some more benign one. But then I feel guilty for wanting to avoid the sadness; dead people need us to remember them, even if it eats us, even if all we can do is say I’m sorry until it is as meaningless as air.”
“We laugh and laugh, and nothing can ever be sad, no one can be lost, or dead, or far away: right now we are here, and nothing can mar our perfection, or steal the joy of this perfect moment.”
“Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?”
“Think for a minute, darling: in fairy tales it’s always the children who have the fine adventures. The mothers have to stay at home and wait for the children to fly in the window.”
“Chaos is more freedom; in fact, total freedom. But no meaning. I want to be free to act, and I also want my actions to mean something.”
“He said something interesting: he said that he thinks there is only free will when you are in time, in the present. He says in the past we can only do what we did, and we can only be there if we were there.”
Hollywood has a motion picture version coming out in November, starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams. I was compelled to watch the trailer before reading the book but decided against it at the last minute for fear of casting the actors’ images on the book’s characters. Boy, was I glad I did that. The movie version was just very ‘Hollywood’, with cool effects and a pretty cast as always. No offense, Eric Bana is a great actor but he just looks way too old and rugged for the role of Henry DeTamble.
For those who haven’t seen it, here’s the trailer: