Saturday, October 07, 2006

Had we but world enough, and time

With Chris's book club meeting - hosted at my gaff this time - looming I need to pull my finger out and finish off the guys' nominated books, so I've polished off The Time Traveler's Wife this morning.

Oddly enough I got the feeling that Clare - the time traveler's wife herself - might have fit in quite well at the last meeting as she had "Brideshead Revisited" in her purse on page 306 and was reading Louis d Bernieres 11 pages later.

For me, the author started off under a handicap because I found it impossible to read the name "Audrey Niffenegger"on the cover without thinking of Steve Martin's Dr. Hfuhruhurr in "The Man with Two Brains". Also, thinking of the cover, when I was younger I would certainly have turned my nose up at anything upon which the approval of "Richard & Judy's book club" had been bestowed. I'm certainly glad to have enough miles on the clock these days not to give a monkey's about coolness.

I don't want to write too much about the book as if I do I'll have nothing left to say about it when we get together. (As an insane aside, I already find a little spooky when people know things that I've written here when I have no recollection of telling them.)

I was surprised that I had no trouble at all however with suspension of disbelief in a novel with a central character suffering from Chrono-Displacement Disorder, a genetic disability that makes him liable - in moments of stress - to disappear from his day to day existence and find himself transported in time to other scenes from his future or past.

The intricate plot, rather appropriately, is as elegantly tuned and tooled as a chronograph and I had - sentimental fool that I am - a little blub up at the end, so I recommend the book to you as Chris did to me.

(Geek warning - stray talk with a minor character in this book suggests that you can write a computer virus in html. If nonsense like that would provoke you beyond endurance, simply omit the 8:20pm sequence in the otherwise heartbreaking "New Year's Eve, Two" chapter.)

Onwards now to Anthony Beevor's "Berlin: The Downfall 1945", Nazi and Red Army capers and atrocities aplenty. That is going to do wonders for my already jaundiced view of humanity, I'm sure.

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