The magic of a great ‘fantasy’ writer is to make the reader forget that they are in a fantasy world. The concept of The Time Traveler’s Wife, in which a man travels through time involuntarily and unpredictably, is intriguing, but Niffenegger draws you in so that you become part of this improbable world. In my humble opinion, she earns 5* on two counts – the sheer brilliance of the ‘architecture’ of the story, and the beauty of the writing.
By ‘architecture’, I mean the ability to stitch together scenes where the chronology is scrambled – for example a man who meets his future wife when she is 6 and he is 36 – in such a way that the book masters the complexities of who understands what at any given date. This plot design is a masterpiece.
At its heart, TTTW is a love story, beautifully told. In places, it is profoundly moving, in others funny, and always engaging. For me, it is probably the best book I’ve read for a year.