Bookclub-in-A-Box Discusses the Time Traveler's Wife: A Novel by Audrey Niffenegger

Overview


Audrey Niffenegger's romantic novel The Time Traveler's Wife tells the tender story of Henry and Clare, a married couple, whose relationship is as unique as is every love affair. Niffenegger takes the concept of time out of the linear sequence that we are familiar with, and turns it inside out and upside down. Bookclub-in-a-Box explores both inside and outside the boundaries of Niffenegger's concepts of love, relationships and time. The exploration looks at how the author's narrative structure and her symbols ...
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Overview


Audrey Niffenegger's romantic novel The Time Traveler's Wife tells the tender story of Henry and Clare, a married couple, whose relationship is as unique as is every love affair. Niffenegger takes the concept of time out of the linear sequence that we are familiar with, and turns it inside out and upside down. Bookclub-in-a-Box explores both inside and outside the boundaries of Niffenegger's concepts of love, relationships and time. The exploration looks at how the author's narrative structure and her symbols highlight the circular nature of time and interconnected lives. The discussion guide will also look at why this novel is often categorized as science fiction. Every Bookclub-in-a-Box discussion guide includes complete coverage of the themes and symbols, writing style and interesting background information on the novel and the author.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781897082263
  • Publisher: Bookclub-In-A-Box
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Audrey Niffenegger

Marilyn Herbert is the creator and director of Bookclub-in-a-Box. A graduate of the University of Toronto, Canada and its Faculty of Education, Herbert has taught English language skills to students at all levels: elementary to college. Using her skills as an educator and speaker, Herbert launched the unique Bookclub-in-a-Box discussion guide series in 2002 and joined the world of contemporary literary criticism and interpretation in an unusual way. In addition, Herbert organizes and conducts literary presentations, conversations and workshops for private and public groups who share her passion for great books. Each guide in the series is a companion to an individual and specific novel intended to inform and entertain the reader, while simultaneously, encouraging new ideas and perspectives about all aspects of the book, author, writing style and other features of interest. With these guides, Herbert takes her place as a virtual discussion leader in the many rooms where fiction is talked about and enjoyed.

Biography

In her book Three Incestuous Sisters, Audrey Niffenegger tells the tale of a trio of sisters, each with her own special trait. There is blond Bettine, the beautiful one, blue-haired Ophile, the smart one, and then there's Clothilde. While hardly unintelligent and certainly not unattractive, it is still probably no coincidence that Niffenegger decided to cast her fellow redhead Clothilde as the talented one considering that she is so abundant in talent. A gifted illustrator and writer, Niffenegger is parlaying her quirky imagination into one of the most interesting bodies of work in contemporary literature.

Niffenegger's love of writing developed when she was a young girl, quietly spending her time writing and illustrating books as a hobby. Her wonderfully eccentric imaginativeness was in play from her earliest writing efforts. "My ‘first' novel was an epic about an imaginary road trip [sic] I went on with The Beatles," she explains on her website, "handwritten in turquoise marker, seventy pages long, which I wrote and illustrated when I was eleven."

Niffenegger's mini-magical mystery tour may have been her "first novel," but the first one to which the rest of the world would be privy came many years later. She had already established herself as a prominent artist whose work had been shown in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Library of Congress, and the Houghton Library at Harvard University when The Time Traveler's Wife was published in 2003. "I wanted to write about a perfect marriage that is tested by something outside the control of the couple," Niffenegger told bookbrowse.com. "The title came to me out of the blue, and from the title sprang the characters, and from the characters came the story."

The Time Traveler's Wife, a sci-fi romance about the mercurial time traveler Henry and Clare, the wife who patiently awaits his return to the present, became a sensation upon its publication. This thoroughly original love story captured mass praise from USA Today, The Washington Post, People Magazine, and The Denver Post, not to mention celebrity couple Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, who promptly purchased the rights to the book and are currently developing it into a motion picture.

Now that she had established herself as a talent to watch, Niffenegger finally had the opportunity to produce a book she would describe as "a fourteen-year labor of love." Three Incestuous Sisters: An Illustrated Novel, is a gorgeous, modern-gothic storybook about the love and rivalry shared between three women. With its minimal text, Niffenegger's chiefly uses her eerie illustrations to convey the sisters' story. Booklist summed up Three Incestuous Sisters quite succinctly by stating that "Niffenegger's grim yet erotic tale and stunningly moody gothic prints possess the sly subversion of Edward Gorey, the emotional valence of Edvard Munch, and her very own brilliant use of iconographic pattern, surprising perspective, and tensile line in the service of a delectable, otherworldly sensibility."

Now, Niffenegger is turning her attentions back to straight prose as she works on a new novel. "It's called Her Fearful Symmetry," she revealed in an online chat with the Hennepin County Library. "It's set in London's Highgate Cemetery, and features as many of the cliches of 19th century fiction as I can summon." Amazingly, with such a wide variety of styles in her still budding body of work -- from science fiction to fairy tale to her impending period piece -- Audrey Niffenegger's books still share a strong sense of unity, a distinctly peculiar and particular vision. "The thing that unites all my work is narrative," she said on her website. "I'm interested in telling stories, and I'm interested in creating a world that's recognizable to us as ours, but is filled with strangeness and slight changes in the rules of the universe."

Good To Know

In our interview, Niffenegger shared some fun facts about herself:

"My current job is teaching graduate students how to write, print type on letterpresses, and create limited-edition books by hand. I work for Columbia College's Center for Book and Paper Arts in Chicago. I helped to found the Center, and it is the center of my universe nine months of the year. The other three months I try to ignore the phone, and I do my own work."

"I make art. Readers can see some of it at Printworks Gallery in Chicago. They have a web site: printworkschicago.com."

"Almost all of the places mentioned in my book are real places that you can visit. The Newberry Library is open to people who have research projects that fit the collections of the Newberry. Vintage Vinyl is a real record store in Evanston. The Aragon Ballroom, South Haven, Michigan, Bookman's Alley, The Berghoff -- I heartily recommend them all."

"I collect taxidermy, skeletons, books (of course), comics (mostly Raw and post-Raw independent stuff, no superheroes). I only collect small taxidermy, no bison heads, my place isn't that big. I don't own a TV. I spend a lot of time hanging out with my boyfriend, Christopher Schneberger, and attending Avocet concerts (Avocet is the band Chris plays drums with). We travel a lot; my new book is set in London, so there's lots of research to do. I garden, in a rather haphazard way. I also enjoy finding, buying, and wearing vintage clothes. All in all, it's a pleasant life."

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    1. Hometown:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 13, 1963
    2. Place of Birth:
      South Haven, Michigan
    1. Education:
      B.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1985; M.F.A., Northwestern University, 1991

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