"I met Clare for the first time in October, 1991. She met me for the first time in September, 1977; she was six, I will be thirty-eight. She's known me all her life. In 1991 I'm just getting to know her." -- Henry (p. 144)Clare and Henry know each other only in fits and starts, but I'm thinking that may be more true of all life than I have ever realized. I take notes as I read, and I am usually in the process of reading several books at a time. Fits and starts, even in my reading, but I pick up where I left off reading and am right back into the story. I don't see a friend for weeks, even years, but we pick up the conversation of our lives with no seeming break in our friendship and the part of life we share with each other, which is usually different with each friend.
"Clare!" Across the quiet of the Meadow Clare's dad is bellowing her name. Clare jumps up and grabs her shoes and socks.Once again, this is like life. Whether we jump up and run away or are whisked away by a chrono disease like Henry's, whether we move on in life or reach the end of life, there's nothing left but cast-offs to show that we were here at all.
"It's time for church," she says, suddenly nervous.
"Okay," I say. "Um, bye." I wave at her, and she smiles and mumbles goodbye and is running up the path, and is gone. I lie in the sun for a while, wondering about God, reading Dorothy Sayers. After an hour or so has passed I too am gone and there is only a blanket and a book, coffee cups, and clothing, to show that we were there at all. (p. 78)
I read to explore ideas, and I've always been fascinated by the idea of time travel. My favorite novel of this genre is Jack Finney's Time and Again (1970), but every single time travel story I've read until this one has characters cautioning against -- or at least pondering -- the dire consequences of meeting yourself in your own past. And what would happen if you accidentally killed one of your parents before you were born? Would you ever exist? If not, then you couldn't have killed your parent. This novel, on the other hand, has Henry meeting up with himself on a regular basis.
I ponder my double. He's curled up, hedgehog style, facing away from me, evidently asleep. I envy him. He is me, but I'm not him, yet. He has been through five years of a life that's still mysterious to me, still coiled tightly waiting to spring out and bite. Of course, whatever pleasures are to be had, he's had them; for me they wait like a box of unpoked chocolates ... he's got my number so completely that I can only acquiesce to him, in my own best interests. -- Henry (p. 152)This book certainly gave me a lot to think about. It's very well written, too. For example, I love this image:
I breathe slowly and deeply. I make my eyes still under eyelids, I make my mind still, and soon, Sleep, seeing a perfect reproduction of himself, comes to be united with his facsimile. (p. 517)Rated: 9 of 10, an excellent book
I quoted from The Time Traveler's Wife a few days ago, here.