Englischsprachige Literatur

Niffenegger Audrey

The Time Travellerīs Wife

Harcourt, Orlando 2003


This novel is a monument to a great love and we readers are meant to witness, how this love begins, reaches its climax and ends. In this sense, itīs a very old-fashioned work of literature. But Niffenegger takes great pains to make it unique and so Henry, the male part, has to be an unvoluntary time traveller, which makes thing sufficiently complicated. Clare, his beloved one, on the other hand, is not. So we first meet the two of them, when Henry is 28, Clare 20. Their next encounter occurs, when Henry is 36, Clare 6. Sometimes itīs Clare, telling the story, then Henry. And we learn about the niceties of time-travelling, which are not always pleasant. Itīs all very romantic in the tradition of the Romantic literature in the 19th century, when love had to be mysterious to be worth telling a story about it.
I imagine Niffenegger sitting on her favourite meadow, reading poetry, preferably Rilke, and dreaming that her ideal lover will suddenly stand in front of her.
I feel slightly annoyed, when she tries to explain the genetic background of time-travelling and outright angry, when finding a reading group guide with 16 questions at the end of the book.