Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife. A delicious fluffy layer-cake of a story. I loved the holey time-addled story line (and while chronological impairment is a plot gimmick, it's fun, enlivened the plot, and provided an excuse to talk about the nature of love, identity, and choice). Henry and Claire were lovable, their friends and family were perhaps even more interesting, and the setting in and around Chicago was an extra layer of icing. But I wish Claire had more of her own identity. So much of her self was wrapped up in Henry, waiting for him, helping him, loving him - although I suppose she was essentially a child-bride and so perhaps that level of entanglement is not surprising. I really wonder about her art. Were her thoughts expressed in her sculptures alone and hidden from us? Perhaps not, since most of her works that were described also seemed to revolve around her relationship with Henry or around Henry himself. I would have found the love story more powerful if I felt they both had stronger identities- Henry apart from his time-wandering, and Claire apart from Henry. But I suppose that our personalities are often constrained and defined by the happenstance of our lives.