This reading group guide for The Time Traveler’s Wife includes discussion questions and a Q&A with author Audrey Niffenegger. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Audrey Niffenegger includes a section of The Odyssey
at the end of the book. In many ways Clare and Henry are a modern Penelope and Odysseus. What parallels do you see? Are there other couples in literature that remind you of Clare and Henry?
2. On page xv, Clare says, “I wait for Henry.” One of her art projects focuses on birds and longing. How is Clare shaped by waiting and absence? How do these themes develop throughout the novel?
3. On page xviii, Henry says, “I hate to be where she is not, when she is not. And yet I am always going, and she cannot follow.” Do you see Henry as a traveler, an adventurer? Or is he a victim of chance?
4. Defining moments in Henry’s life become points in the past that he revisits. The death of Henry’s mother is one of these pivotal events. How does losing his mother define Henry? What other key moments are like this one?
5. Was Henry right to give young Clare a list of when he would visit? Was she too young