Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hopping back and forth in time

I think I understand why Audrey Niffenegger's bestselling novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, has become a big hit.

It's a love story between Clare Abshire and Henry DeTamble. Henry has a genetic disease that makes him time travel. He has no control about it. He disappears anytime, especially during stressful situations.

Niffenegger doesn't miss out on the fundamental details. Henry travels back and forth in time, but it appears he can't change a thing about the past or the future. Henry also leaves his clothes at the very spot where he disappears, and when he emerges at a different time period, he is naked. This is why, through time, he has developed the skill of snatching clothes (and matching them) or stealing shoes.

The book presupposes that no one—not even people with special abilities like Henry's—can change what has been written. Although he can travel back and forth in time, he is helpless in reversing the universal scheme of things.

Audrey Niffenegger uses an interesting literary tool. The story is told in alternating viewpoints: Clare's and Henry's. For this to succeed, the author must exercise flexibility and demonstrate sufficient knowledge of how both sexes generally perceive things. Niffenegger gets it right most of the time.

However, I feel that the book was stretched out, painfully at times. Some details that should've been omitted were there, like thoughts of "I love you, Clare" or "Please don't leave, Henry." For some people, these probably strengthen the notion that they do love each other.

There were many allusions to molecular biology that I enjoyed and even analyzed. In one of the chapters, Dr. Kendrick, my favorite character, explains how the genetic disease has come about and finds ways of curing it.

A movie starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams will be shown some time this year. I hope it does justice to the book.



Blogger decemberchalks said...

oh i love this book so much i read it twice :) the first time i read it, i was really stupified and envious at the author's imaginations hehehe- how i wish God gifted me with such writing skills hehehe :) tal also read it- get her violent reactions personally should read Incendiary by Chris Cleave, it's as tragic but more humorous, dry nga lang humor kaseh brit writer -i can lend it to you if you like :)

Mon Apr 06, 02:06:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger decemberchalks said...

oo nga no, come to think of it, when was the last time you read so much of molecular biology in a fictional love story? hehehe :) actually, stream of consciousness (going in and out of the present) din gamit ng author- the twisted and amped version nga lang :) ako si alba fav character ko, panalo,baby pa lang time traveler na hehehe- audrey made time travelling possible, if only for a few hours :)

Mon Apr 06, 02:09:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

—Fan ka pala nito, Ate. But I can see why. Ang fluid kasi ng writing, ano?

—Some friends who read it also had violent reactions. Tanungin ko nga si Ate Tal.

—Sige, Ate, pahiram ako ng book! I like British humor, I just don't get it sometimes. Comes with practice, I guess.

—I agree, ibang klase ang baby.

Tue Apr 07, 03:29:00 AM GMT+8  

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