Henry DeTamble has an unusual genetic disorder which causes him to time travel at random intervals. Suddenly he will find himself sprawled naked on the ground in another place and time. He must steal clothes and food and find shelter until his body returns him to the present. Claire Abshire, is six years old when she first meets Henry in the meadow behind her home. He tells her to write down a series of dates -which are the times he will come to the meadow in the future. She hides a cache of her father’s old clothes for him and leaves him snacks when he is due to ‘visit’. What Claire does not know is that she and Henry are married in his future life. Henry will meet her for the first time when she is in her twenties, but she will have known him almost all of her life.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
This is a wonderful story about how the power of Claire’s love anchors Henry in time. The couple attempt to lead normal lives, but are frequently drawn apart – longing for one another. The characters are not perfect -they are flawed and realistically portrayed. While the book alternates back and forth between Claire and Henry’s point of view and moves through the various stages of their lives, Henry and Claire’s respective ages are stated at the beginning of each. We enjoyed the way in which multiple Henry’s could be present in a single time period, so that the older Henry could coach his younger self survival skills such as how to pick locks. At several moments of crisis in his life, another Henry manages to fill in for himself -sometimes with amusing consequences. A very good exploration of the nature of love and the “great big ball of wibbly- wobbly timey-wimey stuff” – as Dr. Who would put it.