The Time Traveler’s Wife is the debut novel of American author Audrey Niffenegger, published in 2003. It is a love story about a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and about his wife, an artist, who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences. Niffenegger, frustrated in love when she began the work, wrote the story as a metaphor for her failed relationships. The tale’s central relationship came to her suddenly and subsequently supplied the novel’s title. The novel, which has been classified as both science fiction and romance, examines issues of love, loss, and free will. In particular, it uses time travel to explore miscommunication and distance in relationships, while also investigating deeper existential questions.
“I had kind of got the idea that there’s not going to be some fabulous perfect soulmate out there for me, so I’ll just make him up.”
Henry is not only married to Clare; he’s also married to time. She also drew on her parents’ marriage for inspiration—her father spent the bulk of each week travelling. Despite the story’s analogies to her own life, Niffenegger has forcefully stated that Clare is not a self-portrait; “She’s radically different. I am much more willful and headstrong. … I don’t think I could go through a lifetime waiting for someone to appear, no matter how fascinating he was.”
Niffenegger identifies the themes of the novel as “mutants, love, death, amputation, sex, and time”, and focuses on love, loss, and time.
In a way, the book Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro) is a metaphor for life. It is similar to the book The Time Traveler’s Wife because it has the element of time. Both books talk about how the main characters wait for their partners for almost a lifetime and once they realize how painful it is to wait for so many years, it’s already too late and they have to let go. This idea is portrayed through several little signs which portrays a long-distance relationship. For example, in the book Never Let Me Go, the significance of the distance in the relationship was shown at the end of the book when Tommy realizes that he is going to have to die and he and Kath blindly accept that they barely have time together and they end up staying together until the end. Similarly, even though Henry keeps disappearing, Clare refuses to leave him and continues to be by his side until she passes away. The last time she sees him is when she is 82 years old, years after his death. The characters in both books are similar as they both despite the consequence of being lonely, in the end, stay true to the people they love. Both books show the difficulty of falling in love and highlight both the highs and lows of being in a relationship.
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