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First impressions of The Time Traveler's Wife


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This is for people who have read just the first few chapters. If you haven't yet, reading the following will be a spoiler.





I watched the R&J review and have bought the book. So far I'm maybe a dozen pages into it.

I'm not loving the double first-person narrative. It reminds me of Kevin Sampson's Outlaws, where the same story is told from multiple viewpoints. I find it just detracts from the story, and makes the book feel a bit gimmicky. Maybe it'll grow on me as I read more, and it certainly won't stop me reading it.

Secondly, I'm not yet buying into this "Chrono-Displacement Disorder" plot device. It's too Sci-Fi for my liking, and just too "handy" for the author: "I need to have the guy time travel, so here's how I've made it happen." I'm hoping it's resolved later on. If it's a premise I have to swallow just so the book could be written I'll be disappointed.

As you might have guessed, I'm not wholly convinced just yet.

What's your first impressions of the book?

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Can I suggest we limit our comments to first impressions for the next week or two.

 

That's why I started this thread with exactly this title. I imagine there'll be loads of different threads about the book, and wanted this to be just about what you thought after having just started reading it. I also hoped it'd be about what you heard about it in the media before you started it.

 

I have suggested to Bill that we need a SPOILER tag, so that we can hide comments that might be a spoiler (you would highlight spoilered text to see it, but it's hidden by default).

 

I haven't read enough of the book yet, but I'm guessing two other threads ought to be "Suspension of Disbelief" and "Inappropriality"

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I started this book a few weeks ago and have read others in between. Hence I am only a liitle way in and keep picking it up and trying again. I think for me it doesn't flow well enough to keep my attention, fickle as i am, and as mentioned before I can't relate or empathise we with the two main characters. I know it is written different from the norm narratively, but should this be enough to entice me to carry on reading it??

 

Can someone convince me??

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I don't know how far you are into it, but it took me a while to get into as well, and as you've probably already seen, I loved it in the end! You get used to the narrative, and I think it works quite well, creating tensions and anticipation - it's kind of confusing, but it mirrors the way the characters (especially Henry) must feel themselves. Imagine you're time travelling while reading...????! That might help!

 

I say keep going, anyway if you hate it you can at least disparage it from an educated point of view!

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Hi

 

Keep reading!!!

 

As you know from my dreadful faux pas of spoilers I am not keen on the book but I'm modifying my original opinion of it not being well written. I've since thought that if it were truly badly written I would not have an opinion on it - I'd just ignore. This book certainly elicited a response from me albeit a negative one. Maybe it hones our ability to view a book critically to read something we may not like just to work out why. Or is that just hard work?

I seem to remember Bill's comments that he started this site in response to the need to rant about a book he hated.

 

So Keep reading!!!!

 

Willow

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I have decided to split this thread, and use those posts that contained spoliers to start a new thread called 'Narrative structure / Henry and Clare - SPOILERS!' So hopefully this thread can go back to doing what it says in the title and concentrate on First Impressions.

 

Sorry of it makes this thread a little confusing, as there are still references remaining to posts that are now in the other thread!

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I'm about 130 pages in and have to say I am thoroughly enjoying it. I've always been fascinated with the concept of time travel, but I am quite clear that anyone who writes about it is writing fiction based on something that is believed to be scientifically impossible - we call it science fiction. I think that if you are expecting the author to go on to come up with a plausible explanation for the lead character travelling in time, then you're really missing the point. With sci-fi, you have to suspend belief - what matters is the story and the characters, not whether it's scientifically possible.

 

For the first 20 pages or so, I found it very confusing, but eventually you have to work on the assumption that the author has told the story in a seemingly random order for a very good reason. Just let the story flow, and you come to realise that those little hints about events from the past (or future) are creating a unique atmosphere of suspense.

 

It's an almost unique story, told in a unique way, and I am very grateful to BrumB for BookCrossing it to me.

 

To the doubters among you - stick with it - my copy of dark Tower 6 has arrived, but it stays on the shelf untill I've finished TTW - that's a measure of how much I am enjoying it!

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I'm on page 50-odd, and am also thoroughly enjoying it so far. Being completely unscientific, I don't need a realistic explanation of why Henry time travels. (Just as in Big, I didn't need a plausible reason for why an 11 year old boy became Tom Hanks, or in Freaky Friday, why the mother and daughter swapped lives.) I think it's important to accept a novel on the author's own terms, although that doesn't mean you have to enjoy it.

 

EARLY SPOILER I'm finding the whole concept intriguing - meeting your future wife when she is a child, becoming a mentor to your own self, meeting yourself when you're just a few months older (what were those two 15 year olds doing???). I'm dying to know how it all plays itself out.

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i'm about a third into the book.. not much action really, lots of talking..and romance.. several friends expressed enthusiaism when i mentioned i'm reading it.. i think it is more of a love story.. truthfully, it's not doing much for me but it is pleasant and an easy read. I think i like things with a little more conflict.

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MD&G - yes, the two 15 year-old Henrys (or should that be Henries?). And did the father realise that there were 2 boys in the room? As far as I can make out, he wasn't aware of his son's time-travelling problem - and even if he was, would he have expected to see his son twice in the same time and space? His reaction seemed to relate to what his son was doing - we are left to draw our own conclusion on this, but I suppose we could be wrong! Maybe the father saw 2 people and assumed one was his son and the other was a friend.

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I@m pretty sure the father DOES know about the Time Travelling, i'm sure it's mentioned somewhere that they take him to different doctors and things, plus there's another incident (which I won't mention on this thread as it may be a spoiler) where they couldn't not know really.

 

Just to put my tuppence worth in...!

 

I'm glad other people are enjoying it, there's been quite a lot of negative feedback on it so this is good!

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Maybe the father saw 2 people and assumed one was his son and the other was a friend.

 

That was my interpretation too. Surely the father wouldn't have been particularly shocked if Henry had been on his own - embarrassed perhaps. I suppose it's not a homosexual act if you're doing it to yourself! The mind fairly boggles. Certainly, that scene was a bolt from the blue, and didn't sit comfortably with what went on before. However, I don't know what is to come (not being a time traveller myself).

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this was one of the few things that annoyed me about the novel - some things happen that are never explained properly, one of them being this incident with the 2 henrys. there's a few more. i don't know WHAT they were up to but as MDG says, 'the mind fairly boggles'!!

 

maybe it's to kind of put the reader in the same kind of situation henry often finds himself in? like he'll come across himself in the present and be a bit confused as to whats going on in the future, or he'll time travel to the future and find himself in some obscure situation and he doesn't really know what's going on. we are as confused regarding some scenes as henry must be himself at the time..... just a (badly articulated :o ) thought!

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I'm about a 1/3 way through, and thoroughly enjoying the story. I enjoy Science-Fiction, and don't think this really feels like a Sci-fi book. It is definitely more a love story, but not a soppy book. To me, it seems that Henry can only really be his real self when he is with Clare. His life has obviously made him become a very tough character in order to survive in certain situations, but the kind, gentle side seems to surface when he is with Clare.

 

I like that he interacts with himself in his time-travelling episodes, it makes the story a bit different from the usual time-travel stories around. I get the feeling that this story might not have a very happy ending, but I could be wrong. Will have to wait and see.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've only read the first couple of chapters, so have not read any of the above in case I spoil something for myself, but I had to make a comment about what I have read so far because I have that lovely feeling I get about books that I know I'm going to enjoy, Its pure excitment and I can't wait till I get home so I can lock myself away and read it in piece and quite!!

 

I thought that I was not going to get how the whole thing worked, but the first chapter sorted it out for my poor simple mind, so far I just love the idea of it, fingers crossed it continues like it started!!

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