I don’t normally enjoy science fiction so I originally had my reservations about the time travelling aspect of this story. My concerns about the time travelling and its potential ‘gimmick’ factor were completely unfounded though. This ambitious concept was so skilfully executed it simply added to the telling of what is ultimately a modern day love story. By love story I don’t just mean romance, I mean enduring love, admiration and respect found in a variety of relationships.
Niffenegger’s use of a dual narrative presents the tale from the two lead character’s differing perspectives. This adds immense depth to the telling of the story; it also removed the need for laborious descriptive detail. The lead characters, Henry and Clare, are strikingly real despite the very unreal situations they find themselves in. They are not perfect, they don’t always do the right thing and that simply heightens their likeability. This is a story that could be enjoyed by men and women in equal measure.
If I had to describe this story in one word, that word would be ‘moving’. On one level, it is a very clever telling of an excellent story. On a deeper level, it’s a valuable reminder of the fragility of our lives and the virtues of living in the moment – carpe diem!