PUBLISHER: Vintage (Jonathan Cape)
RELEASE DATE: 29 May 2004
FORMAT: Paperback, 518 pages
GENRE: Fantasy, Romance
This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible, but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Clare’s struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.
I found the book to be well written and I sympathised with the main characters, Henry and Clare, and enjoyed the blossoming relationship between them. I liked the use of the present tense and first person narrative and that the author chose to tell the story from both Henry and Clare’s viewpoint as it enabled me to connect with the characters immediately. I’m not sure this would have been as easy if it was past tense or third person.
However, for me there is hardly anything so fascinating and yet so utterly frustrating as the ‘Time Travel’ story. But frustration can sometimes be the stronger emotion due to the vaguely spelled out theory of time travel, which often leads to events being confusing and contradictory. This is what I think happened in this book.
I found that the contradictions of time travel interfered with my total immersion in the book. Henry travels to the past and future and sometimes visits himself. He witnesses himself time traveling and talks about Clare with his other self. Does this mean that there are several Henry’s traveling through time and meeting with Clare? Yet most of the time she only has one Henry visiting. Occasionally she has two, but if there were two, shouldn’t there be three, four? I know that I should have put aside trying to analyse the time travel element of the story, but I couldn’t and so it slightly hindered my enjoyment of the book.
Overall, I did enjoy this book and found it to be sweet and the characters likable. I would recommend it, but be warned, put your time traveling theories aside and just go with the flow. If you enjoy a good love story, without it being too sentimental, then this is the book for you.
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