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The Time Traveler's Wife

Written by: Audrey Niffenegger
Narrated by: Fred Berman, Phoebe Strole
Length: 17 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (52 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

Clare and Henry's story unfolds from both points of view, depicting the effects of time travel on their marriage and their passionate love for each other. They attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals: steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

©2003 Audrey Niffenegger; 2005 HighBridge Company (P)2003 BBC Audiobooks Ltd.

What the critics say

  • Alex Award Winner, 2004

"Highly original first novel....Niffenegger has written a soaring love story illuminated by dozens of finely observed details and scenes....It is a fair tribute to her skill and sensibility to say that the book leaves a reader with the impression of life's riches and strangeness rather than of easy thrills." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

listened over and over again

this is one of my favorite books. plus the narration is a actually amazing. even my husband has listened to this a couple times over. just love love love this book

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating!

What an intriguing tale of love, loyalty and loss. Worth a second listen to catch the nuances of the adventure! #Audible1

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Couldn't listen to this.

i did not get very far into this book because the narration really got on my nerves

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Such a beautiful story.

This book will open your eyes to a whole new world and makes you wonder the possibilities... Beautifully written.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Heather Feuerhelm
  • Presque Isle, ME USA
  • 2012-03-31

Forget the Movie!

This book is an absolutely MUST listen for anyone who loves a good love story with some flights of fantasy thrown in for good measure. The story is captivating, funny, poignant... and probable.

I saw the movie trailers for this story and thought about seeing the movie, but when I saw it available on Audible, I decided to give the book a listen first. Now I don't think I ever want to see the movie. I simply don't believe it could ever be as good as the performance given by Fred Berman and Phoebe Strole. Berman and Strole don't just narrate the story, they bring Henry and Claire to life and it is Henry and Claire telling their own story in their own voices.

I can't imagine a better way to tell this story than through these two voices, so well chosen and well suited to their characters. I can't imagine a better introduction to audible books!

36 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joey
  • 2008-01-13

One of my favorite books

The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorite books. That's not to say that it's perfect or a work of fiction that will change the face of American literature, but I found it very engaging and hard to put down. I think the idea is really fresh and well-executed. I read the book in paper when it first came out and just listened to it again. My only real problem with the transition from paper to audio is that the book frequently tells you what date it is and how old the characters are (this changes a lot since one of the main characters is a time traveler). When looking at the book I could take the time to stop and absorb the date whereas it was kind of hard to catch the date and ages when read. It's kind of a convoluted storyline (this is necessary and is part of what makes it interesting) and I suspect that if I hadn't read it before I'd have done a lot of pausing to think about what just happened and rewinding of complicated parts. The narrators are pretty good, although the woman's voice was sometimes annoying to me, but that's probably just me. In sum, this is not a book to get if you're looking for something you don't have to concentrate on, but it's a great story so if you don't mind thinking a bit, give it a shot.

84 of 86 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen McLeod
  • New York, NY USA
  • 2009-04-03

Extraordinary

This is one of the two best books I've read or listened to in a long time, and the performances are superb (The other is "Lush Life".) It is the story a guy named Henry who has a sort of disease - unique to Henry - called "chrono-displacement disorder." Henry, it turns out, is more or less taken, at various times in his life, against his will, out of the present, and spit out (usually) into the past. Henry never knows when or where he is when this is going to happen, but it usually happens at moments of great stress for present Henry, and great importance in Henry's past. (There is some travel to the future, but only in a couple of critical places.) And during all of this, Henry, like Odysseus, just wants to go home to his wife and stay there.

And it is the story of his non traveling spouse, Clare who, very self-consciously like Penelope in the Odyssey, waits patiently for her husband's return, again and again, all the while pursuing in earnest the hard work of being and becoming herself. Weaving, in Penelope's case; visual art in Clare's.

This is a novel about life, death, the nature of time, and intimate love, and most importantly, what it means to be a continuous and continuously human person, what George Eliot called the "persistent self." And It is most assuredly a love story, but not in the slightest bit sentimental. At first, the novel's conceit - time travel - is a bit confusing. Partly this is because the author unpacks the concept of time travel piece by piece, in order to take it to many of its logical conclusions. But pretty soon, the reader figures it out more or less, and forgets that some people have called it "science fiction" or "fantasy," or, most ominously to my mind, "romance." And once figured out, the author's cleverness - brilliance really - and wit are revealed as grace after grace. To use a cliche: it makes you think.

59 of 63 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • GH
  • Sherborn, MA, United States
  • 2014-10-29

Complex tale that hits you in the heart

I wasn't sure about this book at first. I really had no concept of how the plot could be held together. The story opens up on the slow side, in my opinion, but rapidly you are drawn into the work. At first you might be thinking the novel is about Henry but then you might change you mind as you get further. Knowledge is power and the shifting tides of time of this novel help you understand how power ebbs and flow with the seasons of life. I was surprised by how central sex was to this novel, of course it was handled tastefully, but the the author did not gloss over how relationships and emotions intertwine with the characters.

This book is more about the relationship between them than time travel. Time travel is a vehicle to bring poignant moments into focus. Indeed, time travel is the author's tool for cutting out the mundane and focusing on the interesting. There is not a science fiction novel -- this about about two people who find each other and grow. This is about love and despair and sacrifice. I think you should give it a read even if you are little shy about science fiction. It will be enjoyed, in my opinion, by those who have experience with relationships. It more of a coming of age novel than anything else. By the way, I hear there is a squeal in the works.

32 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • ❤️ Cyndi Marie ❤️
  • 🎧 Audiobook Addicts 🎧
  • 2018-12-09

✫✫ 4 Stars ✫✫

I really enjoyed this book, I think I like these characters so much I wanted to see their HEA. I was hooked from the beginning. I see a lot of people had an issue with the way it jumped back and forth but I didn't at all. I think the author did a great job at this, I found it easy to follow. I felt so much for these characters, I felt like they really deserved to be happy and get everything since they had to deal with so much. I really liked the way they handled their situation, most women would have ran after the first couple times he wasn't there for something important, she wasn't really, she just knew that was how their life was. I watched the movie years ago but I think the book really brought so much more to these characters.

The narration was great, I think thy were a perfect casting choice!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • LAURA CHAPIN
  • 2009-08-08

Robert and Laura

Well, well, well, I have been an avid reader of fantasy/sf since 1952 and I believed I had read the best and there was nothing that would capture and hold my attention again as stories and books did in my early years. I was captivated by the wonderful people and their lives. I was in love again while at the same time I was contemplating my own mortality. What a wonderful surprise
Thank you Miss Audrey

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Scott
  • Roseville, CA, United States
  • 2010-03-28

Epic Drama & Love Story through Time Travel

This is a "must read" for original and vital usage of time travel as a "plot device". Most Time Travel books are more about SETTING (distant futures or pasts) and TECHNOLOGY (plot devices) which limit the importance of what makes a good story GOOD CHARACTERS!
The two time crossed lovers of this book (excellently narrated by the man & woman team, still, a real treat in the business of audio books.) with excellent editing (no mouth sounds.)
I really truly can't understand the fuss some people make about a scene or two. You'd think there was some kind of hard core porn. In fact I'd probably have missed ENTIRELY it I hadn't been alerted to expecting something of that sort.
Also brilliant is how the author cuts through the possible complexities of time travel with one simple premise which rings true. "Things only happen once." You have free will in real time from your past choices to the future you choose.
It very much simplifies the concept of time travel. No alternate universes, no changing history.
That the traveler has no control over where or when he goes or even for how long, landing naked desperately needing clothing quickly - it makes him a very tragic figure.
Lastly, I liked the way each chapter keeps track of the two main characters and their respective "real life" ages to make the main story easy to follow as the poor protagonist is whipped through back and forward without any control, into heart rending scenes.
Excellent. A truly original concept. I couldn't stop listening. Not to be missed. This is a beautiful love story that unfolds with "flash forwards" and "flashbacks" that keep you guessing and glued to your earphones.

52 of 57 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joey
  • BREWER, ME, United States
  • 2013-06-27

Not what I expected - VERY good though

If you take a look at my other reviews, you'll find that I generally read Sci-Fi and military fiction books. I grabbed this book based upon its title - without doing any research or reading any reviews about it. I have been utterly surprised. This book is soft sci-fi, we accept things because that is the way they are presented. Henry's time traveling is never fully explained, in my opinion, but it doesn't matter. This book is less about the time traveling and more about the effects of it and how it affects thelives and marriage of the two main characters. Well read, well written and I would buy it again even knowing that it wasn't in its strictest sense my preferred genre.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 2012-10-10

One of the Best

This was a great book. It is destine to become a classic. I am not easily brought to tears but I was sobbing, and literally wailing, while doing the dishes as I listened to one of the poignant scenes of this unique and wonderful novel. My wife rushed in with a worried look asking what was wrong (fearing I had cut off my thumb). I popped out an ear bud and replied "good book". It was; it was a very good book. I listened to it a second time as soon as I had recovered from the first listen, then my wife, my child, and I listened to it again on a long drive. We all laughed and cried together as we drove. Interestingly, although many of these reviewers were brought to tears by this book, it is not at all sad. It is just very poignant. I left the book with a strong feeling of joy for life and the importance of love. The book contains some strong language and adult situations, but I think it is fine for most teens.

44 of 49 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jim
  • Lake Forest, CA, United States
  • 2008-05-10

Interesting Time Travel Tale

For those who haven't read this book yet, some quick tips:
* You might feel like you missed something early on, and feel the need to back it up and listen again... Don't bother. You will quickly get used to the author's approach to the time traveling technique.
* It's more of a love story than a real sci-fi time travel story.
* The author must have felt her readers need to have vulgar, graphicly described sexual acts for us to picture a love making scene. Sadly, her high-schoolish and flagrant use of "locker room language" served to detract from scenes. She used words I haven't heard in real conversatoins since I was 16 years old.
* Her originality in her take on time travel is wonderful.
* The story begins well, and continues to build and keep your attention until about 3/4 of the way through and then she seems to lose focus and starts to fill in with artsy/craftsy stuff that add nothing to the plot. I found my self yelling at my MP3 player to "hurry up and get back to the story". I can find a book some other time on how to make paper.
* Be prepared to be left hanging on a couple of things that are never resolved.
* The story is read well, but the female narrator doesn't do men's voices that well and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to when they switch from male to female narrators.
That being said, it was one of the better books I have listened to this year.

73 of 83 people found this review helpful