Last night I finished one of the books that was on my to-read list. This 519 page masterpiece took me less than a week and today I am in mourning.
On the inside flap of, "A Time Travelers Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger, it says thus: "(this) is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Claire was 6 and Henry was 36, and were married when Claire was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true." Henry suffers from a disease in which he is periodically displaced in time. As much as it sounds like one, this is not a science fiction novel. The book is their story of triumphant love in the midst of a great obstacle, one in which Henry disappears without warning and for indiscriminate amounts of time.
I know this story is impossible, and yet all week I have found myself wondering about these characters. They are so very real to me and this is much of what makes Niffenegger's novel the work of art that it is.
Now, like a spurned lover, I must move on in the knowledge that whatever book is next will be a rebound. It won't measure up to my last conquest and yet I must persevere for The Time Traveler's Wife is over. With the final thump in the book drop, it too has moved on.
Last night when I settled in to bed, I thought I had more left than I actually did. The end was satisfying, but it came much too soon. I wandered around the house, wide awake, looking for what was to be next. I stumbled from fiction to non-fiction, David McCullough, to the Fodor's guide to Northern California. Finally, I crept into Sophie's room and took her copy of the illustrated Charlotte's Web. It will be a brief read, but I will find comfort in its pages.
Books of this stature don't come around very often, so I will revel in its brilliance until something else catches my eye.