Orion Reads
a diary of books etc.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Time Traveller's Wife

Finally finished a book !

I read The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger as a sort of diversion from the Oppenheimer bio. It's quite the popular book right now, on remainder tables everywhere.

The premise is that there's this guy who has temporal teleportitis, which means he randomly and without warning or any control travels to a more-or-less random place and time in his own life. So like, he won't go to ancient rome, but he will go to last week at work, or the time when his mom died when he was a kid, or to twenty years in the future to visit his own widow.

Layered on top of that, Niffenegger writes a fairly basic true-love story.

Things i liked:
  • The writing was okay.

  • The basic concept.

  • That Niffeneggar chose the simplest model of time-travel, where you can't change the past. I appreciated that she did this, because i think the more complex model of a mutable past would have thrown the book solidly into Sci-Fi, and while that may itself be an interesting book, this book wasn't really about that. I also doubt Niffeneggar's ability to pull it off.

  • The scene where our hero finally convinces a doctor that his problem is real, by the method of accurately predicting the birth of the doctor's baby, including Downs Syndrome. That was successful drama.

Things i didn't like:
  • The writing was okay.
    Really, just okay.

  • I felt the story is a patchwork of various topics which were unrelated except that they're all things Niffenegger has always wanted to write about: The Drama of Childbirth, Alchoholism, Audrey Niffenegger's Dream House, Audrey Niffenegger's Dream Man, Audrey Niggenegger's Punk Rock Taste in Music, etc. They were just sort of uninspired and really served little purpose except to fill pages.

  • I guess that's it really.
All in all, a fine/decent first novel,
and there may be more coming from Niffenegger, but she needs to tighten her focus and write really About something, versus jumping around the house like Jeffy or whomever in Family Circus, leaving a dotted trail of a book from one favorite object to another.


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