The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Audrey Niffenegger’s amazing debut novel is a story about Clare, a wonderful art understudy, and Henry, a courageous librarian. They have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six. They married when she was twenty-three and he was thirty-one. Unimaginable but true, this is due to Henry’s diagnosis of Chrono-Displacement Disorder. The disorder means that his genetic clock resets in random moments, and he gets lost in time, still filled with emotions and memories from the past and the future. His vanishings are unconstrained and spontaneous, and give a moment of urgency for Clare and Henry, and their unpredictable romance.
“Maybe I’m dreaming you. Maybe you’re dreaming me; maybe we only exist in each other’s dreams, and every morning when we wake up we forget all about each other.”
Readers will love the foreshadowing, being aware of the possibility of something happening but never truly realizing it until both of the characters experience that moment. Including the tragic ending, which will come as a surprise to many. Once you start to put together the puzzle, you won’t be able to put down this book.
When you read it first, it seems like a series of interspersed moments of future and past, as Henry is traveling through time. This adds to the emotional charge in this non-chronological love story, and the ways that both he and Clare conquer obstacles to their own to happiness.
“Don’t you think 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?”
“We laugh and laugh, and nothing can ever be sad, no one can be lost, or dead, or far away: right now we are here, and nothing can mar our perfection, or steal the joy of this perfect moment.”
The author successful addresses themes such as fate, love, personal choices, and destiny. Reading this book is a magical experience of dealing with controversial questions like – how many stops along the way can love take? How intensely can the past interfere with the future and, in this case, the future interfere with the past?
The characters just hop in your brain, and remain there, so you cannot keep living your life as if you had never read their story. This mind-blowing novel is definitely the number one recommendation for all fans of the time-traveler concept.
“Time is priceless, but it’s free. You can’t own it, you can use it. You can spend it. But you can’t keep it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”
11/22/63 by Stephen King
“But I believe in love, you know; love is a uniquely portable magic. I don’t think it’s in the stars, but I do believe that blood calls to blood and mind calls to mind and heart to heart.”
Life can change or stagger into the phenomenal, as it did for Jake Epping, an English instructor in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While reviewing papers by his GED understudies, Jake reads a piece written by janitor Harry Dunning: 50 years before, Harry by one means or another survived the day his dad slaughtered his whole family. Jake is blown away…but a much more unusual mystery becomes known when Jake’s companion Al, enlists Jake to assume control over a mission that has turned into his obsession — to prevent the Kennedy assassination.
How? By going through a portal in the coffee shop’s storeroom, and into the time of Ike and Elvis, of enormous American cars, and cigarette smoke. Winding up in Jodie, Texas, Jake starts another life. It all turns on a troubled guy named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is going to be rewritten… and moved in the direction of becoming heart-stopping sensational.
11/22/63 is an extraordinary, philosophical, sci-fi romantic tale.
“For a moment everything was clear, and when that happens you see that the world is barely there at all. Don’t we all secretly know this? It’s a perfectly balanced mechanism of shouts and echoes pretending to be wheels and cogs, a dream clock chiming beneath a mystery-glass we call life. Behind it? Below it and around it? Chaos, storms. Men with hammers, men with knives, men with guns. Women who twist what they cannot dominate and belittle what they cannot understand. A universe of horror and loss surrounding a single lighted stage where mortals dance in defiance of the dark.”
In case you’re staying away from it because you think Stephen King just writes horror, please rethink. There’s no ghastliness here, other than several slightly gross-out scenes.
You should read it because it is an amazing mixture of dance, time travel in Stephen King’s style, a special treat for anyone who loves clowns, and (indeed) a brutally honest portrayal of late ‘50s and early ‘60s American life.
“Sometimes the things presented to us as choices aren’t choices at all.”
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Greg Bear (Introduction), Carlo Pagetti (Foreword)
“I’ve had a most amazing time….”
This is how it begins – with time travel forward 800,000 years beyond the present time. This book earned H.G. Wells a reputation as the father of science fiction. The book’s explorer is sent to face a burdened future, filled with human hopes and fears. Wells successfully fuels the reader’s imagination with a time machine which propels the hero to an era when the Earth is slowly dying.
“I am afraid I cannot convey the peculiar sensations of time travelling. They are excessively unpleasant. There is a feeling exactly like that one has upon a switchback – of a helpless headlong motion! I felt the same horrible anticipation, too, of an imminent smash. As I put on pace, night followed day like the flapping of a black wing. The dim suggestion of the laboratory seemed presently to fall away from me, and I saw the sun hopping swiftly across the sky, leaping it every minute, and every minute marking a day. I supposed the laboratory had been destroyed, and I had come into the open air. I had a dim impression of scaffolding, but I was already going too fast to be conscious of any moving things. The slowest snail that ever crawled dashed by too fast for me. The twinkling succession of darkness and light was excessively painful to the eye. Then, in the intermittent darknesses, I saw the moon spinning swiftly through her quarters from new to full, and had a faint glimpse of the circling stars. Presently, as I went on, still gaining velocity, the palpitation of night and day merged into one continuous greyness: the sky took on a wonderful deepness of blue, a splendid luminous colour like that of early twilight; the jerking sun became a streak of fire, a brilliant arch, in space, the moon a fainter fluctuating band; and I could see nothing of the stars, save now and then a brighter circle flickering in the blue.”
The book mostly deals with the upper-class British gentleman who invented the time travel machine, and starts bragging about it in the smoking-room. The work was published in 1895 and has managed to captivate readers’ attention for more than 100 years. Wells did an amazing job with not falling into the classic twist of setting the time travel too close to the present. Thanks to his extravagant storytelling, The Time Machine continues to thrill modern readers.
“At once, like a lash across the face, came the possibility of losing my own age, of being left helpless in this strange new world. The bare thought of it was an actual physical sensation. I could feel it grip me at the throat and stop my breathing.”