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January 29, 2006

Time Traveler's Wife: Timelines

Back in November I read and enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, for a book club I'm in.

Preparing for the book club meeting, I decided to prepare timelines to help me understand the book's structure, which is interesting to say the least. The main character is in love with a man who has episodes in which he travels in time. In an interview, Niffenegger said she had timelines for each character while she was writing the book, and I decided to prepare the same to understand it.

Don't look at these timelines unless you've read the book -- spoilers abound!

Each timeline is in PDF format:
Chronological Timeline: download | view online
Clare's Timeline: download | view online
Henry's Timeline: download | view online

Please let me know if you enjoy these materials, and please suggest any revisions or suggestions by commenting on this blog post or emailing <ttwife at fivewells.com>.

EDIT 2010/09/08: Added links to view timelines online in Google Docs.

Posted by ljh at January 29, 2006 7:29 PM


Your posting inspired me to read this book - it has gotten me through and added pleasure my past three days of misery being sick with the flu. As I come out of my feverish delirium I come across this on /.:

No Time Travel, Sorry
Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday February 09, @02:37PM
from the time-to-make-new-vacation-plans dept.
It's funny. Laugh. Science
MOBE2001 writes "The bad news is that time does not change. Spatial velocity is given as dx/dt. Velocity in time(dt/dt) is nonsensical. As simple as that. In other words, no time travel to the past or the future, no motion in space-time, no wormholes and no hanky-panky with your great, great grandmother. There is only the changing present, aka the NOW. The good news is that distance is an illusion and we'll be able to travel instantly from anywhere to anywhere."

bummer ;)

Posted by: JpMaxMan at February 9, 2006 5:47 PM

Thanks so much for the timeline. I've avoided this book for awhile but finally gave in to reading it. My librarian's heart longed for just such a reference as you created. I would have needed to do it myself if you hadn't.

Posted by: Donna at November 8, 2006 6:24 PM

Great time line!

Posted by: Henri at January 24, 2007 11:46 AM

Congratulations, Jack! You just made the airwaves. I found your site because I was listening to the Diane Rehm show today on NPR about this book. One of the panelists referenced your timeline. It took me a while to get to it, but it helps immensely. I love the book, too. Thanks!

Posted by: Kelley at January 24, 2007 12:10 PM

You got mentioned on the The Diane Rehm Show show today on NPR regarding the timelines you developed for The Time Traveler's Wife. (their monthly Readers Review show which discussed Audrey Niffenegger's book)

If you are interested, you can listen to the podcast - you are mentioned right after the break at the 31-32 min point in the show.


Thanks for the timelines - I loved the book and will review your docs tonight.

Posted by: Scott at January 24, 2007 5:39 PM

I just finished the book yesterday, LOVED IT...and found your timeline when I went looking to see if maybe a movie was in the works. I sure could have used the timeline reading the book, and I did have to backtrack a couple times because I was lost!

Posted by: Linda at January 29, 2007 4:38 PM

Thanks for the timeline. Am listening to audio version of the book now.

Posted by: A Macbeth at February 16, 2007 4:41 PM

Seriously, how amazing is this book? I am just glad to see that someone else cares so much about it. Thanks.

Posted by: Thomas at February 18, 2007 7:17 AM

This was a great book - I enjoyed it throroughly.

Your timelines are great for trying to unravel exactly what happened. (Although I notice the car accident when henry is young is not on there...?)


Posted by: Andy at February 22, 2007 10:18 PM

This book is AMAZING. Can anyone suggest another book that is similarly fabulous?

Posted by: Laura at February 28, 2007 3:24 PM

Hi, it's great to hear from other TTW fanatics! The timeline is God-sent, though I just noticed my pages didn't tally with your edition's. Bah! Mine is published in the UK, though with similar covers.

Can't wait how the movie will turn out =)

Posted by: singapotter at April 20, 2007 3:49 AM

Thanks so much for your wonderful timelines. Just a quick question, I noticed that you have put Henry's final visit to Claire in the future chronologically after his feet have been amputated. Is that possible? He writes that it was the "last summer" (June 2006) when he saw Kendrick ... which means he still would have had his feet. What do you think?

Posted by: Shanti at May 7, 2007 8:46 AM

I just wanted to thank you for this chronology. I first heard about this book on the Diane Rehm show a few months ago when they had a "Readers Circle" show early this year. The lady mentioned this wonderful chronology but when I finally got around to reading this book this past week, I couldnt remember where it was. So I listened to the whole archive edition of that show on the internet. It was really enjoyable to hear the discussion again now that I knew what they were talking about and also great to hear again this URL so I could get the chronology. (I had scribbled hand written one with a few dates myself that I was trying to keep track of!) Thanks again! Katie

Posted by: Katie at May 29, 2007 4:52 PM

my favourite book in the world, really! i could read it over and over, the time lines were really exceptional! thankyou!

Posted by: lizzie at June 5, 2007 2:40 PM

I really got impressed by your timeline!
I'm a High school student in South Korea.
I was doing a group project on this book and I thought it would be nice to write a timeline.
However, I gave up after trying to make it ten different ways!!
As I was surfing the internet I fount your site and the timeline you had made.
I wanted to ask permission if I could use your timeline as a reference to my own timeline?
I really think this timeline is super~!!!
Thank you~~

Posted by: Hayeon Choi at June 13, 2007 9:38 AM

Thank you so much for the chronology. I wanted to write one myself, but somehow never found time to do it. Your chronology does just about everything I had in mind for it, and has saved me many, many hours I just didn't have to spend!

Posted by: ringbark Author Profile Page at July 29, 2007 4:45 PM

Thank you for this, as i am compelling a presentation on this book for my college lit class. This has saved me a few hours. :)

Posted by: Rikesh Patel at September 9, 2007 7:30 AM

Thanks for the fantastic work on the timelines. It was difficult to keep track of the sequence of things reading the story as written.

Posted by: Jodie at November 12, 2007 12:44 PM

Jack! How funny to find you through Google when I was looking up my favorite book. I had no idea you were a fan of the book.

Most romantic thing to do with the book: Read it out loud with Alison, with you reading Henry and her reading Clare. That's how Toli and I read it, and while it took an excruciating month to get through it, it was a really great experience.

Posted by: Christine at November 16, 2007 6:35 PM

I am reading this book at this very moment and am almost at the end. I like the timeline, but didn't want to spend too much time on it because it would be a huge spoiler for me. I moved to Japan from South Africa, just four months ago and I must say that this book does not help home-sickness, rather it aids it. But, it is so interesting and has so many levels and layers to it that I can hardly put it down. I am reading it on trains, buses, at work and at home. Although I say that it is a painful reminder that I am far away from home, it reminds me that life is a search for the inexplicable 'thing' that fits the void that we all experience. And in the end we find it, no matter how messy, imperfect and extremely difficult.

Posted by: Leigh-Anne at November 27, 2007 9:28 PM

Timelines great idea, just found them. Has anyone noticed an ommission; didn't Henry mention while visiting Kimy that he saw her dead daughter in their old garden when time-travelling as a child. Kimy said she died in 1956.

Posted by: Dave at January 8, 2008 5:17 AM

I too read this work and enjoyed it tremendously. I planned on teaching it as part of my Post-Modern American lit. class in the fall. Your time-line makes my job so much easier. Thanks a lot for doing to all of the necessary work for me, I truly appreciate all of your effort.

Posted by: Mithrandir at January 27, 2008 4:03 PM

Great job!

Posted by: Ana at April 23, 2008 12:47 AM

What a great timeline! I just finished reading this book and am in a state of shock - it's over with and now what do I do? The only thing that's driving me crazy is that I can't find the very first thing in your chronology - 1966, p. 326, where Henry wants a baby. And now it's driving me crazy because I don't remember that reference!

Posted by: Marie at December 5, 2008 11:29 AM

I loved the book!!! Although the time line I don't understand "how Henry died in 1984 and events still take place after that into the future... HELP!!

Posted by: Cyndie at March 27, 2009 12:19 PM

I really enjoyed this book when I read it a couple of years ago, but it was difficult to keep track of the timelines. I have printed out your timelines, and will read this book again. Thanks so much for all of your work on this.
I am excited to see how the movie compares. I know they are never spot on, but some movie adaptations do a credible job of depicting the story in a true way.

Posted by: Jes at August 13, 2009 11:40 AM

This is amazing, thank you!

Posted by: jon at August 21, 2009 4:03 PM

AWESOME Job! Thank you, am learning so much even after having read it 2x!

Posted by: Amyinbc at September 23, 2009 10:51 AM

That is nice to finally locate a site where the blogger knows really well about his subject.

Posted by: Sam at December 22, 2009 12:29 PM

This is awesome... I'd like to use part of it for our website as we are focusing on TTW this month for a book club. I would redirect to your blog and not use all of the timeline

Posted by: Krystal109 at January 12, 2010 9:52 PM

hey man, nice blog...really like it and added to bookmarks. keep up with good work

Posted by: John at September 8, 2010 7:14 AM

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