Thursday, August 07, 2008

Book Review: The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Yes, I know, several years and a few episodes of 'Moffat does Niffenegger in Doctor Who' too late.

But, but, I have just finished reading Audrey Niffenegger's novel The Time Traveller's Wife and it WAS lovely.

I've been meaning to read it since it came out, and then as everyone kept going on about how it was being ploughed in Doctor Who I felt I both should and wondered if one or both of these things would be diminished by reading it.

I'm kinda glad I left it till now, partly because it gave me space to enjoy the book for what it was and partly because I could come to it after starting to read the effortlessly wonderful work 'The Night Bookmobile' in the Guardian Review.

For those who still haven't read Niffenegger's novel, it's a delight. A rollercoaster ride through time and life, full of wit and passion. It's sexy, sensual and deeply moving. I sniffled several times and was reading the final sections through fought-back tears. Hell, I'm soppy. But by the end I felt I knew them so well - Henry and Clare and everyone around them. So of course the inevitability of events was going to catch up with me and them.

Once you are into the flow of the narrative - and it takes no effort for all its twisting timeline crossings - you are swept along with the characters.

Does it matter that Moffat has seemingly appropriated elements from this tale for his own work? No, because neither the possibility of love nor the impact of time travel are new types of tale. The inspiration is used well but I would say that looking back on the episodes from having read the text I don't feel they diminish them or my experience of the book.

It's too beautiful a tale for that to happen.


Jane Henry said...

I so love that book! It's inspired my maybe one day to be written parallel universe story...

Rosby said...


The Time Traveler's Wife is my favourite book; I had to stop and go back to beginning at one point because it took a while to grasp, but I adore it and always come back to it, despite the fact I know it inside out. It's just the normalness and the rationality of it; the premise is completely ridiculous, but the love story and the way they struggle to live their lives just sells it. It's incredibly emotive, and it never really ends.

Can't wait for the film, even though I'm bound to hate it, loving the book so much.

Andrew said...

I *adore* that book. I don't know many people who weren't crying at the end - I was.

There are certainly similarities to the Moffat scripts, but, then, it's a time travel romance - there's only so much you can do :-) And he's equalled the emotional power, imho - I physically winced when I realised River Song was going to die, and what that meant.

Glad you enjoyed it :-)

Persephone said...

I very much enjoyed the audio version of this book. I've discovered that audio-books really take the sting out of food preparation and housework, though not, unfortunately, vacuuming. It's grand that you've finally got to this gem. As for Moffat pinching elements, isn't that what Shakespeare did? (Or most good writers, for that matter?)

Reidski said...

One of the most beautiful books ever. Crying at the end? Hey, crying from page one until the end! This is a seriously brilliant book!

Matthew said...

My name is Matt from Regal Literary.

If you enjoyed TTW, you might be interested in knowing that Regal Literary is giving away ten advanced reader's copies and three first edition hardcovers of the new Audrey Niffenegger book, Her Fearful Symmetry, on October 1st in a lottery to anyone who joins the facebook page as a fan and sends an e-mail to Good luck!