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The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - NEW

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The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - NEW

The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - New


The Time Traveler's Wife is a 2003 novel by Audrey Niffenegger. It is an unconventional love story that centers on a man with a strange genetic disorder that causes him to unpredictably time-travel, and his wife, an artist who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences. In this book, unlike many other time travel stories, it is not possible to change the past or future.


The novel tells the story of Henry DeTamble (born 1963), a librarian at the Chicago Newberry Library, and his wife, Clare Abshire (born 1971), an artist from a wealthy family who makes paper sculptures. When 20-year-old Clare meets 28-year-old Henry in 1991, he has never seen her before, although she has known him most of her life. Clare's past is still in Henry's future. Henry begins to experience the events in Clare's childhood at the same time that he experiences life with the adult Clare in the present. In the novel, the future cannot be changed, and many tragic events are foreshadowed in the past.

Henry has a very rare genetic disorder known as Chrono-Displacement that causes him to involuntarily travel through time. He is unable to control when he leaves, where he goes, or how long his trip will last. His destinations are tied to his subconscious, as Henry most often travels to places he has visited or will eventually visit. Very often, Henry is taken back to the moment his mother died in a car accident he survived, and is forced to observe the car crash again and again. Certain things like stress can trigger time travel for Henry. It is described as being similar to epilepsy or a panic attack, though on brain imagery, his brain shows patterns similar to those who are schizophrenic. He uses running as a way of keeping calm and remaining in the present. But more importantly, he needs to be able to run fast to escape any unknown situations he could travel back (or forward) to at any given time.

Henry cannot take anything with him into the future or the past. Even fillings in his teeth are left behind. He always "arrives" naked and must work hard while "away" to find clothing, shelter, and food without getting beaten up or arrested. He amasses a number of survival skills including pickpocketing, lock-picking, and expert fighting skills. He learns many of these skills from older versions of himself, either when the older self is time-traveling into his own past, or when his older and younger selves' time-traveling coincides.

Henry time travels into Clare's childhood and adolescence many times, starting in 1977 when she is six years old. On one of his early visits, he dictates to her a list of the visits he will make to her; she writes these dates into a diary so she can expect his visits. As an adult, when all of the visits are through, she gives the list to him to memorize so that he will know them when he returns to her in her past. This is an example of a predestination paradox, since the knowledge of the dates forms a causal loop, with Henry having gotten the list of dates from Clare when she was an adult, and Henry having memorized the list and dictated it to Clare on one of his first visits in 1977. During one of Henry's visits, he inadvertently reveals that he and Clare will be married in the future. His last visit takes place on her eighteenth birthday in 1989 where he and Clare make love for the first time, and then they are separated for two years until they finally meet in real time for both of them.

Clare and Henry get married, but have trouble conceiving a child because of his genetic disorder. After six miscarriages, Henry gives up and has a vasectomy. Later, a past version of Henry travels to the future and makes love to Clare and she becomes pregnant and carries the child to term. They have a daughter named Alba, who is diagnosed with the same disorder. Before she is born, Henry travels to the future and meets Alba at ten years old. Alba reveals to Henry that he is to die when she is five years old.

Years later, Henry time-travels to Chicago on a very cold winter night, where he is unable to find shelter. He experiences hypothermia and develops frostbite. When Henry returns to his 'present', his feet must be amputated. The story has stressed that his ability to run is, for Henry, a vital survival skill, and it is not long before Henry time-travels into the middle of the Michigan woods during deer season and is fatally shot by Clare's brother. He returns to the present and dies in Clare’s arms.

Clare is devastated by Henry's passing, and feels unable to live her life without him. Although Alba sees him from time to time, he and Clare seem never to be able to see each other. She finds a letter from Henry describing an experience he had with her in her future, when she is an old woman. Henry doesn't want Clare to wait for him, but he wants her to know that they will see each other again and that love knows no boundaries and transcends time and death. Clare lives to old age, and is visited by Henry for a final time.

About the Time Travellers Wife Movie (2008)

Based on the premise of The Time Traveler's Wife, a Chicago librarian (Eric Bana) has a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel when he is stressed. Though he disappears often for long periods of time, he tries to build a romantic relationship with an artist (Rachel McAdams).


* Eric Bana as Henry DeTamble, a Chicago librarian.
* Rachel McAdams as Clare Abshire, an artist.
* Ron Livingston as Gomez, Claire's best friend, Charisse's boyfriend and a liberal attorney who works for nonprofit organizations.


Before Audrey Niffenegger's 2003 novel The Time Traveler's Wife was published, New Line acquired rights to develop a feature film based on the story. Niffenegger stated in an interview that she had thoughts of how a film version of the book would appear, as she was writing the book. In September 2003, the studio hired screenwriter Jeremy Leven to write an adapted screenplay of the novel. Directors Steven Spielberg and David Fincher briefly expressed interest in the project, though no negotiations took place. In March 2005, director Gus Van Sant entered negotiations with the studio to helm the project. The negotiations did not hold, and in November 2006, director Robert Schwentke was instead hired to take over the project.

In January 2007, New Line hired screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin to rewrite Leven's script. Filming began in Toronto on September 10, 2007. The film is also being shot in Hamilton, Ontario.



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