Review: “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger

Thumbs up for The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Science fiction/romance.

I’m not sure if it’s just my coworkers and I, or if other used-booksellers also have a visceral aversion to reading books that have been fads; suffice it to say when this book was at the height of its popularity you could not have made me read it if you’d held a gun to my head: I was tired to the point of fury about being asked for it every ten minutes. Also, I had this conception of it as a gussied-up Nicholas Sparks tearjerker. And…well, perhaps it is that (very gussied). But, after reading it at last for a reason so geeky I will keep it to myself, I stand chastened, because I in fact loved it. It’s not perfect, no. One amusing flaw is the incessant artistic name-dropping (of poets, artists, writers, etc) as if Niffenegger is all too aware that she is, in the end, writing a Romance, and feels the need to have some untranslated passages of Rilke to make sure it gets deemed Literature. (But I forgive her this as one of the things she name-dropped was The Shaggs, and anyone who knows The Shaggs has my love.) In spite of that and other minor hiccups, I stayed up way too late reading like mad to find out how everything fit together. And anything that keeps me up late gets a big thumbs up. (Also, I can see why Steven Moffatt felt he had to steal the idea of nonlinear love. It’s too good to pass up.)

“He’s dead,” she tells her teacher. “But he’s not continuously dead.”

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