Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

For somebody who organises a book-group, I don't read too many novels these days; however, in the past fortnight I have managed to read the first 3 books in the Twilight Saga, The Girl with the Pearl Earring and now, The Time Traveller's Wife. I think it is escapism. Housework and children who won't get ready for school in the morning or go to sleep at night are getting me down. Did I mention in the last post that I am shallow? Because these are all love stories and now I am going to compare leading men. Well, Edward, the vampire, is creepy and doesn't do it for me at all. Jacob is lovely and light, but one summer would be enough. The painter in The Girl with the Pearl Earring is self-centred and weak. So that leaves Henry, the librarian who keeps fit and can cook...Hi, Honey, I'm home.

Once I got my head around the time-travel thing, I really enjoyed this book. I raced through it and now I need to go back and re-read the details. I found a few sets of discussion questions on the web for this book, but I think the following are most suited to our book-group (having trouble posting a link to the original source). See you Tuesday.

1. Why do you think that the book was titled "The Time Traveler's Wife" and not "The Time Traveller"?

2. The story is sometimes told by Clare, sometimes by Henry. Did you like how it was organised? How did their different persepctives help you understand their love?

3. For Clare, there is always a sense of waiting. Discuss the different ways she is waiting throughout the story. What roles do longing, anticipation and absence play?

4. Who is your favourite character and why?

5. How does their desire for a child affect their relationship? How did you feel about the chapters where they were trying desperately for a child?

6. Do you believe that Alva will have a better life than Henry? How is her perspective on time travel different than his?

7. How is their relationship changed by the fact that they experience different events at different times?

8. Is this story fatalistic?

9. Do you agree with Henry's rule of keeping the future a secret from himself so he can live as normal a life as possible? Discuss the times that he breaks this rule and whether you think those are good decisions.

10. Did you like the ending?