The novel begins with a prologue in which we meet the main characters Clare and Henry, and learn of the nature of their relationship. Henry DeTamble is a time traveller. He has Chrono-Displacement Disorder - a genetic glitch which, especially at times of stress, moves him from the present into his own past, and sometimes into the future. Time travel is dangerous for Henry: he arrives at some other point in his life naked and nauseated, vulnerable and often in danger. Henry meets his wife, Clare Abshire, at the Newberry Library in Chicago for the first time when she is 20 and he is 28. Clare has known Henry since she was 6.
The story is told, in alternating first-person perspectives, by Clare and Henry. Time travel has its dangers for Henry, but for Clare there are periods of absence - some short, others long - while she waits for Henry to reappear and never knowing at what stage he will be in his life when he reappears. The time traveller's wife spends a lot of time waiting, wondering and wishing.
`Why is love intensified by absence?'
It's a love story, complicated by Henry's involuntary and disruptive time-travelling. It's a comparatively long novel, but easy to read because of the way in which it is laid out. Many of my friends loved this novel, and I'm not entirely sure why it's taken me such a long time to get around to reading it. I'm glad that I've read it now.
`Time is nothing.'