Monday, August 16, 2010

THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger ( 2003 unabridged audio)

This edition of the best-selling novel is beautifully read and acted by William Hope and Laurel Lefkow who play Henry and Clare and a supporting cast of characters including each others' parents, a Korean housekeeper, best friends Gomez and Cherisse and their time-traveling daughter Alba.

Clare meets Henry when she's six and he is 36 when he appears naked in the field by her family mansion outside of Chicago in 1977. A curious girl with a robust imagination, Clare accepts Henry's account of time traveling when he confides in her and trusts that he will reappear in her life on the dates he has provided.

Because Henry not only knows the future, but has been there, he's able to tell Clare that they will marry, though as with most slips involving their shared future, he refuses to tell her when. Henry uses his future experience to protect Clare and their closest friends from knowing tragedy before it happens, because, as he insists, knowing that immense sadness is in store does not prevent it from occurring.

Even once Clare and Henry start to build a life together as adults and she embraces her life as an artist and he works in the special collections at the infamous Newberry Library in Chicago, Henry's disappearances continue to be unpredictable and last any where from a handful of time to several weeks and Clare must learn to take these at times harrowing and amusing journeys in stride.

Desperate to carve out what they can of normal life by pursuing familiar middle-class goals like rewarding jobs and good friends, Henry and Clare cannot control what is destined to happen. In spite of the time-traveling conceit which I am willing to suspend my disbelief and believe (as in Jasper Fforde's novels THE EYRE AFFAIR and LOST IN A GOOD BOOK), Clare and Henry's love story remains unforgettable.

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