I tend to avoid reading anything that even remotely resembles science fiction. It's a genre that has never appealed to me. That being said, I was making it a habit to avoid The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. I didn't bother reading the New York Times book review. I ignored it when I saw it on the end shelf at the library or in a book store display. I ignored it when it appeared on the best seller list. Need I say that it never appeared on my long hold list at the library? Yet, the book seemed to be presenting itself to me at every turn. Odd, no?
Then one day, it appeared in my hands, carefully wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a bow. A birthday gift...ughhh. I smiled graciously, did a little ooh-aah dance, said thank you, then tossed it in to a carton of books being packed for our move to Pennsylvania.
It was several weeks before the book surfaced again. I was rummaging through moving boxes stored in our unfinished home. I needed some books to read while we waited in a residence hotel for our house to be move in ready, so I tucked it into my tote bag.
That afternoon, I opened the book and started to read. The Walcott poem was the first glimmer of hope that I had for this being a good read. It appears before the dedication and a prologue. It was the first hook...the prologue was the second. A few pages into the first chapter, I was a goner. A love story was emerging. Sure it was a quirky love story with the time travel twist, but the characters were finely drawn and complex. With each passing page, I was drawn deeper and deeper into their story and their unique problem.
The two main characters are Clare, the wife, and Henry, the time travelling husband. Henry never knows when he'll be subject to moving though time or how long he'll be gone. He doesn't know if he'll be going back in time or forward. He starts popping in and out of Clare's life when she is only six years old. She brings him food and clothing, since he's always hungry after one of his passages, and also arrives naked. Some of the food she brings him is quite odd. She later confesses that she wanted to find out if there was anything he wouldn't eat.
Henry is due to appear on Clare's 18th birthday, and she prepares a picnic 'feast' for him. She doesn't know how to cook, and seems to have no desire to learn, so she puts together a rather odd assortment of prepared items from her parent's larder. It's all part of a seduction plan that only an 18 year old could plot. You'll have to read the novel to see how it plays out...
Henry does know how to cook, and when they meet in 'real time' and begin their adult courtship, he prepares a dinner for Clare's 21st birthday...vichyssoise and salmon. He wants to take care of Clare and cooking is one of his offerings...an expression of his love.
By the time Henry is 43 and Clare is 35, he has had a glimpse of what the future has in store, and he begins worrying about leaving Clare alone. The couple also have a daughter, and he's concerned that he won't be there to take care of them. In an effort to prepare Clare for her future, he gives her cooking lessons. After Clare prepares her first meal, and realizes that she can now cook, she stares across the table at Henry and thinks, 'Don't leave me.'
I was rereading this book when the Food for Thought meme came about, and I'm now happy that I was. It was the perfect vehicle for me to join in the fun.
And just a closing thought...the perfect book can be like an abiding true love. You can be narrow minded and refuse to allow it to enter your life, but if it's meant to be, it will somehow find you and endure the test of time.
Please click on the Food for Thought button at the top of the page. It will take you to Once in a Blue Moon where our hostess has supplied a Mr. Linky connection to help you travel to other sites celebrating food and the written word.