Henry De Tamble is a Chicago librarian with “Chrono Displacement” disorder; at random times, he suddenly disappears without warning and finds himself in the past or future, usually at a time or place of importance in his life. This leads to some wonderful paradoxes. From his point of view, he first met his wife, Clare, when he was 28 and she was 20. She ran up to him exclaiming that she’d known him all her life. He, however, had never seen her before. But when he reaches his 40s, already married to Clare, he suddenly finds himself time travelling to Clare’s childhood and meeting her as a six-year-old. The book alternates between Henry and Clare’s points of view, and so does the narration.
The first third of the novel was confusing, trying to get used to what’s taking place to whom at what time; but once I got into the rhythm of the story, I had a hard time putting it down. It’s character-driven with few science-fiction elements (it explains a little gene therapy while trying to seek a cure for the ailment). An engaging story.
It reminded me of A Shortcut in Time, by Charles Dickinson, another great time travel type book that’s more about the characters than the pseudo-science behind time travel.