The Time Traveler’s Wife

Monday, November 27, 2006 Vishaal 0 Comments

Audrey Niffenegger

Reading sci-fi has been one of my habits from younger (or toddler) days which unfortunately stayed on (proves that the innocent child is still alive and kicking inside adult me! DISCLAIMER: I am a male, if you wonder). Curious about the strange title, I picked it up and read a bit from the back cover. "How bizarre!" - It was the first thought that crossed my mind when I read that the main character Henry is suffering from a genetic condition which makes him travel through time. My medical knowledge revolted at such a weird concept.

I decided to give it another chance. I was curious to know why any doctor will find it interesting. So, I read a bit more about the plot. "Fascinating" - my mind reflected in a sudden U-turn! This book was not about time travel, nor does it have anything to do with science fiction. It is same age old love story with a novel twist. Henry is in love with Claire, but at the same time he is suffering from this time travel disease which makes him travel to and fro in time. He has absolutely no control over these travels and they can be precipitated by almost anything. The only thing that is consistent is that in every such travel through time, he always ends up with his wife. So he can be with his wife at different stages of her life, and the author has dealt with such an unusual concept with an imagination which is beyond comparison. After a couple of chapters I even wondered whether it is possible for any human being to imagine such an impossible thing in such detail. The powerful focus of the book on the dynamics of such a relationship makes one wonder whether the author suffered from such a disease itself? The narratives, the intricacies of their relationship with varying time, are simply enough food for my mind to last a lifetime. Henry interacts with Claire at all possible ages, right from when she was three.

It made me think. I made me think a lot. About time, about our ignorant relationship with time, about the change in our relationships with someone we love with time. Every time Henry took that involuntary leap into the past, I glided along to see my own past. It’s amazing to see the myriad of possibilities which open up in the past when you arrive there with current intellect. You learn a lot along time, taking this experience along with you, to your past, is just one thing we wish to have with us many a times (in simple words: hindsight). And if you can apply this knowledge, this experience, this intellect to the past of relationships, you do not make those mistakes... In fact, you tend to make new mistakes then... and that gives you a new mirror for your present... a new perspective.

Like the theme of the book, I wonder how fascinating will it be if we can just hop into our past with one such person, relive the best times together, fall in love again... to come back to present with those thoughts still fresh... the corroding effect of time on relationships won't be there then, isn't it?