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5.13.2009

"my apartment is basically a couch, an armchair, and about four thousand books." the time traveler's wife



I suppose I should admit I finished this a week ago. Sitting in my favorite cafe, eating organic greens, tears careened down my face. 

The night before, I had cried so hard and tried so valiantly to not disturb the roommate that a high-pitched whistle (much like a tea kettle when it sings) arose from some place deep inside.

I don't have much to say about the book. It was pure poetry. Brilliantly written. 

It was difficult to get into because I wanted to understand the logistics of the time travel. And other times I had a hard time falling into the images because another part of my brain was going, my god--that turn of phrase--how did she just do that?

It was heart-wrenching in all the right ways. And it got me thinking about time and life and our different ages: sometimes I feel like I'm failing my eight year old self--the little girl who has yet to get to this point--the little girl who is still out there in the world (back in 1993). I want to be better for her. 

Yes, it may be hard to get into. But it's worth it. 

Want to know the moment I fell into the book--the exact moment I fell in love:

pages 70-71:

After an interval of tickling and thrashing around, we lie on the ground with our hands clasped across our middles and Clare asks, "Is your wife a time traveler too?"
"Nope. Thank God."
"Why 'thank God'? I think that would be fun. You could go places together."
"One time traveler per family is more than enough. It's dangerous Clare."
"Does she worry abut you?"
"Yes," I say softly. "She does." I wonder what Clare is doing now in 1999. Maybe she's still asleep. Maybe she won't know I'm gone.
"Do you love her?"
"Very much, " I whisper. We lie silently side by side, watching the swaying trees, the birds, the sky. I hear a muffled sniffling noise and glancing at Clare I am astonished to see that tears are streaming across her face toward her ears. I sit up and lean over her. "What's wrong, Clare?" She just shakes her head back and forth and presses her lips together. I smooth her hair, and pull her into a sitting position, wrap my arms around her. She's a child, and then again she isn't. "What's wrong?"
It comes out so quietly that I have to ask her to repeat it: "It's just that I thought maybe you were married to me."



Now I'm onto The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. The woman I babysit for said it's one of the best things she's read in years. It was sitting on her shelf. We're doing a book trade. She gets The Time Traveler's Wife for a while and I get The Namesake (one has to figure out ways to save money you know). I'll be sure to let you know what I think.

Keep the suggestions coming. My list is growing long and I'm loving that. And my pile of books on the windowsill is climbing. I will update the post on books soon enough to include all your fantastic suggestions.


image via ffffound

27 comments:

Signorina Svizzera said...

ooh, I loved The Namesake. No book suggestions as the only english books here are trashy beach reads and cost the equivalent of $30. But I can't wait to read the Time Travelers Wife when I get home!

Belle said...

The book sounds lovely, I will defintiely try and hunt it down in a bookshop here.
"It's just that I thought maybe you were married to me." Aw, thats heartbreaking.

And darling thank you very much for your lovely comment! It made my day! Your so incredbly sweet! xxx

Jessica Marie said...

this book was so fabulous :D

glad you enjoyed it too!

becky said...

The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorite books ever. It is breathtakingly written. It makes me think deeply about love and life and timing. I'm so glad you enjoyed. :)

Helen said...

LOVE the tea kettle analogy. Brilliant.

Sarah said...

OK, now I must read this book.

The Rookie said...

Now I simply must add this to my summer reads. And just so you know, I often wonder how you turn a phrase so splendidly.

I simply adore your words.

Wisdom + Understanding said...

Mmmmm! I'm an English Lit. major so I have too many book titles to spill out for you!

But to begin, have you read Kane & Abel by Jeffery Archer? If not... read it!

If yes, have you explored post-colonial English novels? i.e. written in English by non-Western authors. I love Bryce Courteney's Power of One and Tandia...and Cry, the Beloved Country. These are all South African AMAZING and BRILLIANT literature.

I'll stop the list at that for now, haha!

I read the Namesake, I thought it was OK, really a good place to start a discussion on the process of naming, what's in a name, etc.

MAMA BLISS said...

this is one of my favorites.
the movie is coming out in august and i'm nervous.
what if its not as good as the book (they never are)?

thanks for thinking my son is cute : )

Patrick and McCall said...

The Time Travelers Wife is one of my most favorite books EVER! Its simply lovely!!!
And whats this I hear about a MOVIE????

Ivy Morgan said...

oooh this makes me want to go out and get this book!! i do remember when it first came out reading the first few pages and not really liking it, butmaybe now is the time to go back to it. I've seen the movie, The Namesake, it's very good and I'm sure the book will be even better! happy reading and thanks for commenting my page :)

kerri ní dochartaigh said...

when you have read the namesake you should read the interpreter of maladies, its just as good xxx

Gabby said...

I so glad you enjoyed it!

Micaela said...

Meg, I LOVE LOVE that part. Love it. And yes, there's an official date of the movie to be released this summer! Aug 14th!!!! Lovies, this is BIGGER than "sex and the city" for me and i'm the biggest carrie wannabe EVER. ;)

the way you described what this book made you feel was absolutely beautiful.

I have made everyone special read this book, I've insisted that the one I loved read it. It's one of my favorite memories of him that we shared. Laying in bed he read the end to me. The beautiful boy read the beautiful pages and cried beautiful tears and then held me beautifully.

this book means SO MUCH to me. I'm glad you read it.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of good books and movies, My Sister's Keeper is coming out this summer. I'm sure it won't be as good as the book.

RatalieNose said...

So this may be a little juvenile, but I really liked it: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.

Thao said...

Jhumpa Lahiri--another favorite. But I'll be honest. I like her short stories better than her novel. Unaccustomed Earth was heartbreakingly good. I'm so glad you enjoyed Audrey Niffenger--one of my favorite things about the book was her characterization of Chicago. I loved being able to say, "I've been there!" or "I know that place!"

gracefully said...

check out a true and inspiring story at ivymh.blogspot.com

gracefully said...

check out a true and inspiring story at ivymh.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

i am in the middle of the time traveler's wife and loving it as much as you did. if you are trying to save money i would check out abebooks.com. you can find books for super cheap and a ton with free shipping. i just finished the believers by zoe heller and never let me go by kazuo ishiguro and highly recommend both.

Ria said...

I haven't read A Time Traveler's Wife, but it sounds like I should!


Like another commenter, I too think that Jhumpa Lahiri is much more brilliant with short stories. Both Interpreter of Maladies (Pulitzer Prize) and Unaccustommed Earth were heartbreakingly lovely.

But having said that, The Namesake is one of my favorite books. There are some books you can point to and say, "this book defined me at this moment, this book told me that it was okay, that this is how the world is."

For me, The Namesake is one of those books. For my 12/13-15 year old self, it was a miraculous book. Like the main characters in the book, my extended hypentated identity would be "Bengali-Indian-American". Especially in my phase as an identity-searching angst ridden preteen self*, ethnic American fiction really spoke to me, growing up in a 93% Caucasian Texas city.

One of Jhumpa Lahiri's greatest talents in my humble opinion the tiny details. The way paper plates turn yellow when stained with the spices of Indian food; the way oil accumalates on your scalp when you don't shampoo in a while...


Sorry for the loooong rambling comment. I love to talk about all books.


*full disclosure: I would now classify myself as an identity-searching angst-ridden teenager. haha.

kathleen said...

You're so right. This book is hard to get into. I bought it for a plane ride, but didn't get very far... Now, after reading this, I'll definitely pick it up again.

Meg, thank you so much for your kind comments on my blog. It means so much to me - especially because I am so taken with your beautiful writing. Xoxo.

Elizabeth Marie said...

Its so worth the initial struggle to get into, isn't it? I had a hard time but I am so thankful I made it...wow. Truly amazing. Xo

chicknamedhermia said...

The Time Traveler's Wife is pure art ....one of my favourite books of all time (and I've read A LOT of books!!) ....just amazing!

Hanako66 said...

I am totally going to get this book.

I have been on a meaningless chic-lit kick lately (which is fun), but I am ready for somthing to change my life.

kate said...

oooh i love this book, one of my favorites. so beautiful and happy and sad all at once.

i too had trouble getting into it, and just accepting the logistics of the whole time travel thing, instead of just accepting... i kept having to stop and ask myself "but how?" haha

marli said...

this book is one of my favorites. does anyone know what happened the the movie version with rachel mcadams? has it been released yet?

have you read "the year of magical thinking" by joan didion? it's a good one too.

happy reading.