This is book five in my attempt to read fifty books in 2005.
In many ways this is a lot like Slaughterhouse Five. Henry DeTamble is adrift in time in much the same way as Billy Pilgrim but although she starts with a similar premise to Vonnegut, Niffenegger’s novel turns out very differently. Vonnegut uses the concept to rage against the Allied bomobing of Dresden and Niffenegger writes a love story.
Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing. Vonnegut’s book will always be considered a classic whereas I suspect that Niffenegger’s will only enjoy a transitory success. But that’s fine. It’s a well-written and enjoyable book and it’s nice to see a book that discusses the grandfather paradox (tho’ admittedly, not in much detail) on the bestseller shelves in the bookshops.
One image that I couldn’t get out of my head whilst reading it was one of the actual mechanics that Niffenegger went through to write it. I picture her sitting in her study with two timelines pinned to her wall. One is Clare’s boringly linear life and the other is Henry’s more confusing history. I also imagine many lines between the two indicating where Henry was coming from at the times he met Clare through time-travel. It must have been a lot of fun to write.
I predict you’ll see a lot of people reading this on the tube over the next few weeks. You could do worse than to join them.