Hannibal Free Public Library

The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger

August 25, 2008



In The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Clare and Henry vow to hold onto each other and their marriage as they struggle with the effects of Chrono-Displacement Disorder, a condition that casts Henry involuntarily into the world of time travel.

Audrey Niffenegger is a visual artist and a professor in the Interdisciplinary Book Arts MFA Program at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and paper Arts, where she teaches writing, letterpress printing, and fine edition book production. She shows her artwork at Printworks Gallery in Chicago. The Time Traveler's Wife is her first novel.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In The Time Traveler’s Wife, the characters meet each other at various times during their lifetime. How does the author keep all the timelines in order and “on time”?
  2. Although Henry does the time traveling, Clare is equally impacted. How does she cope with his journeys and does she ultimately accept them?
  3. How does the writer introduce the reader to the concept of time travel as a realistic occurrence? Does she succeed?
  4. Henry’s life is disrupted on multiple levels by spontaneous time travel. How does his career as a librarian offset his tumultuous disappearances? Why does that job appeal to Henry?
  5. Henry and Clare know each other for years before they fall in love as adults. How does Clare cope with the knowledge that at a young age she knows that Henry is the man she will eventually marry?
  6. The Time Traveler’s Wife is ultimately an enduring love story. What trials and tribulations do Henry and Clare face that are the same as or different from other “normal” relationships?
  7. How does their desire for a child affect their relationship?
  8. The book is told from both Henry and Clare’s perspectives. What does this add to the story?
  9. Do you think the ending of the novel is satisfactory?
  10. Through history there have been dozens of mediums used for time travel in literature. Compare The Time Traveler’s Wife to the ones with which you are familiar.

Discussion questions provided courtesy of MacAdam/Cage Publishing