The Time Traveler's Wife

  • by Audrey Niffenegger
  • Narrated by Fred Berman, Phoebe Strole
  • 17 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.Clare and Henry's story unfolds from both points of view, depicting the effects of time travel on their marriage and their passionate love for each other. They attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals: steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

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What the Critics Say



Alex Award Winner, 2004
"Highly original first novel....Niffenegger has written a soaring love story illuminated by dozens of finely observed details and scenes....It is a fair tribute to her skill and sensibility to say that the book leaves a reader with the impression of life's riches and strangeness rather than of easy thrills." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Extraordinary

This is one of the two best books I've read or listened to in a long time, and the performances are superb (The other is "Lush Life".) It is the story a guy named Henry who has a sort of disease - unique to Henry - called "chrono-displacement disorder." Henry, it turns out, is more or less taken, at various times in his life, against his will, out of the present, and spit out (usually) into the past. Henry never knows when or where he is when this is going to happen, but it usually happens at moments of great stress for present Henry, and great importance in Henry's past. (There is some travel to the future, but only in a couple of critical places.) And during all of this, Henry, like Odysseus, just wants to go home to his wife and stay there.

And it is the story of his non traveling spouse, Clare who, very self-consciously like Penelope in the Odyssey, waits patiently for her husband's return, again and again, all the while pursuing in earnest the hard work of being and becoming herself. Weaving, in Penelope's case; visual art in Clare's.

This is a novel about life, death, the nature of time, and intimate love, and most importantly, what it means to be a continuous and continuously human person, what George Eliot called the "persistent self." And It is most assuredly a love story, but not in the slightest bit sentimental. At first, the novel's conceit - time travel - is a bit confusing. Partly this is because the author unpacks the concept of time travel piece by piece, in order to take it to many of its logical conclusions. But pretty soon, the reader figures it out more or less, and forgets that some people have called it "science fiction" or "fantasy," or, most ominously to my mind, "romance." And once figured out, the author's cleverness - brilliance really - and wit are revealed as grace after grace. To use a cliche: it makes you think.
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- Leo X Cox

One of my favorite books

The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorite books. That's not to say that it's perfect or a work of fiction that will change the face of American literature, but I found it very engaging and hard to put down. I think the idea is really fresh and well-executed. I read the book in paper when it first came out and just listened to it again. My only real problem with the transition from paper to audio is that the book frequently tells you what date it is and how old the characters are (this changes a lot since one of the main characters is a time traveler). When looking at the book I could take the time to stop and absorb the date whereas it was kind of hard to catch the date and ages when read. It's kind of a convoluted storyline (this is necessary and is part of what makes it interesting) and I suspect that if I hadn't read it before I'd have done a lot of pausing to think about what just happened and rewinding of complicated parts. The narrators are pretty good, although the woman's voice was sometimes annoying to me, but that's probably just me. In sum, this is not a book to get if you're looking for something you don't have to concentrate on, but it's a great story so if you don't mind thinking a bit, give it a shot.
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- Joey

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-08-2006
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books