Monday, 17 June 2013

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

"A big reckless novel...."

My eyes would travel to those words on the cover on the rare occasions I closed the book, the times when I absolutely had to get up and do something with my life other than follow Henry and Clare through the past and the future. I finished the 518 page novel in roughly 24 hours with little respite. Even when I wasn't reading it, it consumed my thoughts. Big and reckless it is. Oh, how it mercilessly toyed with my emotions.

"It will stay with you for some time. That fucking book ruined a whole day of my honeymoon," my best friend said in an effort to console me, "Do you have any hard liquor in the house?"

This is not a book to be taken lightly. You do not finish this book feeling elated and then move on with your life. You are depressed and saddened and filled with such longing that you lay awake at one in the morning still thinking about it.

This book cuts out your heart and hands it back to you on a plate.

But this is not a bad thing. The Time Traveler's Wife makes you feel. If you are empty, your heart will be kick started into action. If you are full, your emotions will create a meniscus on the surface of your experiences and spill down the sides. If you are in love, you will understand. If you have lost, you will understand. You will move through every emotion as you move back and forth in time with Henry.

At times, the story is wickedly funny. It is also very sexy. It explores themes of love and family, free will, choices, survival, time and knowledge - what would you do if you knew what was going to happen? The story can feel a little lurching at first until you fall into the rhythm of the non-linear, non-sequential and patternless moving backwards and forwards in time, so make sure you keep an eye on the dates and ages of our protagonists. And hold on tight.

Snuggle down with this book on a cold weekend when you won't be interrupted; on a weekend when no one will see your red rimmed eyes and simply be with Henry and Clare in their love.