Audrey Niffenegger 2003
A brilliant and exceptional book about Claire Abshire, an artist from Michigan and a time-traveler's wife. Her husband is Henry de Tamble, a librarian from Chicago who is afflicted with a rare genetic disease of time traveling coined Chrono-displacement . She is six years old when she meets him, and through the years that he travels back in time, they fall in love and later marries. A truly remarkable and unique love story.
'It's hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he's okay. It's hard to be the one who stays. I keep myself busy. Time goes faster that way.'
'When I am out there, in time, I am inverted, changed into a desperate version of myself. I become a thief, a vagrant, an animal who runs and hides. I startle old women and amaze children. I am a trick, an illusion of the highest order, so incredible that I am actually true.'
'I fear finding myself in a prison cell, an elevator full of people, the middle of a highway. I appear form nowhere, naked. How can I explain? I have never been able to carry anything with me. No clothes, no money, no ID.'
I hate to be where she is not, when she is not. And yet, I am always going, and she cannot follow.'
'I'm Claire Abshire. I knew you when I was a little girl...I'm at a loss because I am in love with a man who is standing before me with no memories of me at all. Everything is in the future for him.'(4)
''What is the Meadow?" I am practically hopping with excitement. I have never met anyone from my future before, much less a Botticelli who has encountered me 152 times.'
'I don't usually tell myself stuff ahead of time unless it's huge, life-threatening you know? I'm trying to live like a normal person. I don't even like having myself around, so I try not to drop in on myself unless there's no choice.'(21)
Where was I when I saw me?(27)
'Now for me, it's different. Because I am a time traveler, I jump around a lot from one time to another. So it's like if you started the tape and played it for a while but then you said Oh I want to hear that song again, so you played that song and then you went back to where you left off but you wound the tape too far ahead so you rewound it again but you still got it too far ahead. You see?'(45)
'All my life I have pretty much accepted Henry as no big deal; that is, although Henry is a secret and therefore automatically fascinating, Henry is also some kind of miracle and just recently it's started to dawn on me that most girls don't have a Henry or if they do the've all been pretty quiet about it.'(71)
'Well, technically speaking, I'm your husband. Since you haven't actually gotten married yet, I suppose we would have to say that you are my girlfriend.'(90)
'When Clare draws she looks as though the world has fallen away, leaving only her and the object of her scrutiny. This is why I love to be drawn by Clare: when she looks at me with that kind of attention, I feel that I am everything to her.'(104)
'One of the best and most painful things about time traveling has been the opportunity to see my mother alive.'(109)
'I realize that I have forgotten my present Henry in my joy at seeing my once and future Henry, and I am ashamed. I feel an almost maternal longing to go solace the strange boy who is becoming the man before me, the one who kisses me and leaves me with an admonition to be nice. As I walk up the stairs I see the Henry of my future fling himself into the midst of the slam dancers, and I move as in a dream to find the Henry who is my here and now.'(162)
'Henry sighs. "My whole life is one long deja vu."'(178)
'He has this idea that every piece of music should be treated with respect, even if it isn't something he likes much. I mean, he doesn't like Tchaikovsky, or Strauss, but he will play them very seriously. That's why he's great; he plays everything as though he's in love with it.'(201)
"But don't you think," I persist,"that it's better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?"(239)
'The compelling thing about making art-or making anything, I suppose-is the moment when the vaporous, insubstantial idea becomes a solid there, a thing, a substance in a world of substances.'(284)
'When I was a child I looked forward to seeing Henry. Every visit was an event. Now every absence is a nonevent, a subtraction, an adventure I will hear about when my adventurer materializes at my feet, bleeding or whistling, smiling or shaking. Now I am afraid when he is gone.'(285)
"Our love has been the thread through the labyrinth, the net under the high-wire walker, the only real thing in this strange life of mine that I could ever trust"
First Harvest edition 2004