Not my usual kind of read, and perhaps a wee bit close to being a “chick flick” to be admitting that I read it here in public, but I found a fascinating resonnance with my experience of memory and the parts of scenes, the words and thoughts that the author plucks and wields.
Henry has an affliction that causes him to sporadically time travel, in the flesh. Usually backwards in time, occasionally forwards. Arriving in various odd places naked and with no idea how long he’ll be. Sometimes he travels to times and places where he encounters himself: while meeting a girls parents at christmas he travels forward 3 days to his own apartment, just long enough for his future self to tell him that he’ll be going back in shortly and that he’ll survive the rest of Christmas without incidents…
The core of the storyline is about the bizzare relationship and its complications that form around Clare: a girl who finds a version of Henry in the field behind her house and befriends him, grows into a woman and falls in love with him, and then meets Henry in his natural timeline at a time before he has met her.
It’s not deep sci-fi in the sense that it doesn’t try to explain or resolve the paradoxes or issues, it’s more philosophical in that sense in that it raises them and presses the characters into the life that results.
If you’re a romantic, then it is a touching love story with an twist of sci-fi setting with hints of quantum leap. If you’re a sci-fi fan who watches every time travelling episode of Voyager when it reruns, this is a gold mine of paradox variations; not heavy on the mushy stuff, and the snippits of written sex finally healed the scars that reading Arthur C Clarke books had left in me.
My last two reads were the heavy hitting, mainline, ‘saga’ scifi of Otherland Book 1 and Iain M Bank’s new Culture Book Matter. Although I thoroughly enjoyed both reads, Traveller’s Wife was a refreshing change.