I just read The Time Traveller’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger.  On the whole: a good love story, with an intriguing SF angle.  Probably worth it just for the wacked-out timescale alone.  The most literary SF I think I’ve ever read, even more than Doris Lessing (and yes, that’s mixed praise).

Here bee spoylers

(Really.  Cut tags don’t seem to work.)

But… not a great love story.  The first half of the book piles on nice things on the two lovers; the second half piles on a larger number of nasty things.  There’s nothing that’s really implausible, but these things aren’t organic either— they feel like the author kept asking, “What can I do to them now?”  The best bits in the book are the things that aren’t part of the plot per se— Henry beating up a punk for insulting him, or most of the scenes with them as children.

More annoyingly, the couple never have a serious crisis with each other.  They love each other, that’s it.  Clare doesn’t even experience any process of falling in love with Henry— she’s known him all her life.  Henry does have a life without her, but in 24 hours of meeting her, he’s commited to her entirely.  It’s sweet, but a little shallow.  Making the external blows nastier and nastier doesn’t make up for this.

One fun bit was all the Chicago references.  Oh, and one more annoying bit: what the heck does Clare do with herself for the last 40+ years of her life?

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