I am only 80 pages into The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and I’ve been completely enchanted for most of that. Is this too soon to start writing a review?
I was struck immediately by the richness of language. Despite the fact that the music being played at the Starbucks I was reading it in clashed completely with the warm prose I was lost in it. It is obvious that this is a carefully crafted story. Not only do the main characters experience a non-linear timeline, the reader is introduced to their story in a different but still non-linear timeline. That any of this makes sense is astounding in itself. The only part I’m hesitant about so far is that the preliminaries pointing at the actual mechanism which will make the time travel premise possible are much more in the vein of hard sci-fi rather than the mystic sense we have so far, but I’m hoping this will play out in a way that fits well with the rest of the content.
I was particular enamored by a couple of the first scenes where the wife’s time traveler, Henry, meets himself at an earlier age. I am so used to depictions of a child’s wonderment being a setup for a fall that reading this particular episode in Henry’s life made me fall in love with him. Then not much later, in a different time and different pairing of ages, Niffenegger just as easily brings up every bit of loneliness I’ve ever felt right there in one page.
Maybe this is because I’ve always been fascinated by the idea not just of time travel but of visiting oneself in another time. I wonder quite regularly what my past self might have thought if he caught a glipse of what I was seeing at that moment. I remember reading a novel years ago that saw a boy get the ability to travel through time not entirely unlike this book. I wish now I could remember what it was called. Then of course there is Robert J. Sawyer’s Flashforward, which deals very explicitly with what might happen if we all saw a few moments of our own futures.
The Time Traveler’s Wife is already a very different creature from both of these. I only worry that I will read it too quickly and this so far enthralling story will be over too soon.