OBS brings you a whole month of time traveling and in the case of book club, Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. We were suppose to start Friday, but due to technically difficulties I will be posting chapters twice today. Once now and one later tonight. Make sure to look tonight for even more Clare and Henry.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Written by Amanda
Edited by Rose/Krystal

Our book opens with Clare, who gives us a narrative on how it’s hard to be left behind as she waits for Henry, not knowing where or when he is. She wonders if he’s okay and keeps herself busy as time goes faster that way. She sleeps alone and wakes alone. She recalls how women use to wait for their sailor men at the docks, looking for the ship on the horizon. She waits too and every minute seems like an eternity. Why is it that he must go where she can’t follow?

Memorable Quotes:

Clare: Why is love intensified by absence? (Page 1)

Henry: It feels exactly like one of those dreams in which you suddenly realize that you have to take a test you haven’t studied for and you aren’t wearing any clothes. And you’ve left your wallet at home. (Page 3)

Henry: When I am out there, in time, I am inverted, changed into a desperate version of myself. I become a thief, a vagrant, an animal who runs and hides. I startle old women and amaze children. I am a trick, an illusion of the highest order, so incredible that I am actually true. (Page 3)

Henry: It’s ironic, really. All my pleasures are homey ones: armchair splendor, the sedate excitements of domesticity.

Henry: I hate to be where she is not, when she is not. And yet, I am always going, and she cannot follow. (Page 4)

Questions for discussion:

From Clare’s short POV in the prologue, what do you sense about her emotional state?

In reading Henry’s POV, how do you think he feels about being a time traveler?

Is there something you noticed that you’d like to discuss with the book club?

What kind of mood do you think Audrey was trying to set for the rest of her book?

Read and discuss more HERE.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Chapter 1: First Date, One
Written by Amanda
Edited by Rose/Krystal

Saturday, October 26, 1991 (Henry is 28, Clare is 20)

Clare visits the Newberry Library in Chicago for the first time. She goes to the Special Collections section to research the Kelmscott Press Chaucer as well as to read about papermaking at Kelmscott. When the catalog is too confusing, Clare asks the help desk and is directed to Mr. DeTamble. As she turns to explain, Clare finds herself face-to-face with Henry, her Henry. She is speechless and jubilant. She recalls that the last time she saw him in the meadow, he was sucking her toes. How can she possibly explain it all to him? This man, the man she’s in love with, has no memory of her and why should her since she only exists in his future. Some part of the man that would eventually love her had to exist though. She asks him out for coffee or dinner and he says, “yes.” Clare floats out of the library and into the Chicago sun.

Memorable Quotes:

Clare: I try to explain. “I’m Clare Abshire. I knew you when I was a little girl…” I am at a loss because I am in love with a man who is standing before me with no memories of me at all. (Page 8 )

Henry: And this astoundingly beautiful amber-haired tall slim girl turns around and looks at me as though I am her personal Jesus. (Page 9)

Henry: As I stand in the elevator, dazed, I realize that a massive winning lottery ticket chunk of my future has somehow found me in the present, and I start to laugh. I cross the lobby, and as I run down the stairs to the street I see Clare running across Washington Square, jumping and whooping, and I am near tears and I don’t know why. (Page 10)

Clare: “Actually, I know everything and nothing. I know how you look without clothes, but until this afternoon I didn’t know your last name. I knew you lived in Chicago, but I know nothing about your family except that your mom died in a car crash when you were six. I know you know a lot about art and speak fluent French and German; I had no idea you were a librarian. You made it impossible for me to find you in the present; you said it would just happen when it was supposed to happen, and here we are.” (Page 16-17)

Henry: “Why ‘Poor Henry?’ I’m overcome with happiness.” And it’s true. (Page 19)

Clare: Well, whoever you are, I’m here now. You may be Henry’s past, but I’m his future. (Page 21)

Henry: “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were coming or I’d have cleaned up a little more. My life, I mean, not just the apartment.” (Page 22-23)

Henry: “I was thinking; it’s very peaceful, here with you. It’s nice to just lie here and know that the future is sort of taken care of.” (Page 24)

Questions for discussion:

Henry tells Claire that he doesn’t tell himself things ahead of time unless it’s life-threatening so that he can try to live somewhat of a normal life. If you could travel through time, would you be able to keep from telling things to yourself about the future?

Would you want to know who you were going to marry from the time you were six years old? How would that affect you growing up? Would you date other people?

Is there something you noticed in this chapter that you’d like to discuss with the book club?

Did you notice a change in mood between the prologue and chapter 1? If so, what kind and how far in the future do you think the prologue takes place?

Read and discuss more HERE.