Book Review – The Time Traveler’s Wife, And The Unexpected Subplot
“Is there a logic, a rule to all this coming and going, all this dislocation? Is there a way to stay put, to embrace present with every cell? I don’t know. I don’t know why start a note on this book in particular, when I have read close to forty books this year. But here we go.”
At over 500 pages, Time Traveler’s Wife was the longest book I read this year, and I read a LOT this year – over 40 books, instead of 25 I was shooting for. Having the time at a Cuba resort, I swallowed it in two days, so it definitely managed to keep my attention.
Time and travel – these two topics play a big role in my life.
If you are not a fan of nonlinear plots, you’ll hate this one. I was just impressed with the writer’s ability to keep the timelines straight. In an interview, she said that she had two timelines drawn up at any given time – one for Henry, and one for Clare. When I finally started recognizing the repeated scenes looping back, it was incredibly gratifying.
Although I was not a fan of shy shy love scenes. “We were late for lunch” is sometimes as far as it goes. After discovering Lidia Yuknavitch, and her frank style when talking about anything having to do with the body, this modesty seems contrived. For contrast’s sake, here is one of very telling reviews on one of books by Yuknavitch: “Absolutely revolting. Highly recommend.”
Funny enough, some Time Traveler’s Wife reviewers rant against super explicit sex scenes. Were we reading the same book? They must have been the same people who complained about the “gory” miscarriage scenes. Omg, a pool of blood! Nooooooo. *shields eyes.
Um. Ask me about that time in the bathtub sometime.
Miscarriages and infertility subplot does catch me by surprise. In the book, Clare has six miscarriages, or five miscarriages and a stillbirth, and then goes on to finally have a daughter. This struck me as a bit “happy-ending”-gy. Maybe, because, while the stories of miracle birth are common, we do not hear from women who have multiple miscarriages, and then DO NOT have children. Choose not to, cannot, would not. These are the stories that are missing.
Henry, the main character, presents a different spin on running as a coping strategy:
“Running is many things to me: survival, calmness, euphoria, solitude. It is proof of my corporeal existence, my ability to control my movement through space if not time, and the obedience, however, temporary, of my body to my will.”
Henry, the main character, describes time travel as a “brain thing”, almost like seizures brought on by stress. While he often cannot control when he time travels, sex, running and meditation help him to stay in the present.
Few more quotes that I loved:
“I hate to be where she is not, when she is not. And yet, I am always going, and she cannot follow.”
“It doesn’t help that he didn’t run this morning; I’ve noticed that Henry needs an incredible amount of physical activity all the time in order to be happy. It’s like hanging out with a greyhound.”
Oh, and I did watch the movie after I finished the book! While they did a good job translating one to another, the movie suffers from the typical affliction in such a transition – it’s MUCH more tame. If you think miscarriages are gory, you should try following along the fate of that poor eviscerated zebra in Life of Pi.