The concept of time travelling in books, films and television programs, particularly Dr Who, is not new. Audrey Niffenegger tells the story of Clare Abshire and Henry DeTamble who first meet when Clare is six and Henry is 36, though in real time Henry is eight years older than Clare. Henry, a librarian working at the Newberry Library in Chicago has the ability to travel backwards and forwards in time, sometimes meeting himself at a different age. A major disadvantage of time travel is that Henry is unable to take anything with him or bring anything back resulting in the need to find suitable clothing when arriving at a different destination. Henry also has no control over travelling in time though he suspects that being stressed contributes to the situation. Knowing what is to happen in the future but not being able to change the outcome is another burden of time travel though occasionally Henry uses prior knowledge to his advantage.
This love story is told in two voices through the eyes of Clare and Henry. Henry often visits Clare as she grows up until eventually they are adults in real time. When they first meet in the Library the visits to Clare's childhood are in the future and Henry is initially unaware of this part of their lives. The problems of uncontrolled time travel explored with many twists and turns in the plot as well as attempts to find ways of controlling this phenomenon.
The sequences of time travel can be haphazard and confusing as the plot evolves and reducing the book by a third would have tightened up both the writing style and the storyline. However The time traveler's wife is a popular book and will no doubt increase in popularity when the film of the book is shown in Australia.