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Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveller's Wife

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Mar. 30th, 2009 | 08:35 pm

Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveller's Wife

What a well-constructed, well-executed, vapid, and self-congratulatory book this is! Street directions lifted from Google Maps stand in for the evocation of place, compulsive lists - authors, bands, sushi - stand in for characterization. American Psycho does this, but it is a sign of Patrick Bateman's sickness. Here is one particular offence:
"I peruse Henry's bookshelves. Here is the Henry I know. Donne's Elegies and Songs and Sonnets. Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. Immanuel Kant. Barthes, Foucault, Derrida. Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience. Winnie the Pooh. The Annotated Alice. Heidegger. Rilke. Tristram Shandy. Wisconsin Death Trip. Aristotle. Bishop Berkeley. Andrew Marvell. Hypothermia, Frostbite, and Other Cold Injuries."

But tell me - are the spines bent? Unbent? Are they all in the same edition? Are they shelved with care, alphabetically, by height, by width, by weight? Who is this Henry that you know? Who cares. The branding is all that matters.

The absolute nadir of this book is when time-travelling thirty-something hipster Henry sees a couple of teenage baby-punks at a family gathering. Over he bounds, and dictates to them a list of necessary bands. Inexplicably, they do not say, "Fuck off grandpa." Instead, they are awed and dutifully scribble down the canon. Truly, as they used to say in Smash Hits, it is like punk never happened.

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Comments {14}

Diacritical Hit

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from: whatifoundthere
date: May. 25th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)

Hi! I'm here by way of your recent comment in strange_complex's journal. As dear a friend as she is to me, I need to side with you on this: I really didn't like much about this novel at all. The writing was mediocre, the "love story" was repellent, and the science was vague and hand-wavy. BUT AT LEAST AUDREY NIFFENEGGER LISTENS TO EXCELLENT MUSIC, RIGHT?

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from: altariel
date: May. 27th, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)

AND READS ALL THE RIGHT BOOKS! I did think she kept the story jogging along (for such a long book), but for me there really was very little that was likeable about it.

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