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    Review of THE TIME TRAVELERS WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger

    MacAdam/Cage, September 2003

    Clare Abshire meets her future husband for the first time when she is six, when he appears naked and a little worse for wear in a clearing near her home. Henry DeTamble has just popped in from the future. He continues to visit her over the years, and she gradually falls in love. (He is already in love, since in the future he is already married to her.) On his last visit from the future, when she is 18, he tells her they will meet in the present in two years.

    When they meet in two years, she is already in love with him, yet he has never seen her before. (He always visits her as his future self.) So the courtship begins again, from a completely different perspective.

    This is a time travel story like I've never read before. For one thing, in this universe, time travelers cannot change the past or future no matter what they do. Everything is fixed; essentially, while there appears to be free choice, there isn't. The second thing is that the time traveler has no choice about when he will go traveling, or where and when he turns up, but usually it is to places and times that have emotional intensity. He arrives naked and ill, and spends most of his displaced time stealing clothes, money and food, and running from the police. The one constant is the love between Clare and Henry, and the darkness that hovers just beyond their grasp as they both gradually come to realize that their time together is limited by forces they have no control over.

    Gripping reading, really amazing stuff. I did not much care for the ending; as skillful as this author is at planting clues and paying them off with an "ah-ha!" moment, I was waiting for some grand twist at the end that would surprise me. But there are no surprises, and the ending just sort of trails off. Still, don't let that stop you from giving this novel a whirl. I am praying that Niffenegger writes a sequel, because there is a character who begs her own story.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 4/18/04

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    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).

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