the one and only?
So, this book. Layered, complicated and filled with more confusing character doublings that I thought possible – Comedy of Errors has nothing on this. The importance of certain moments in life reminded me of One Day. The similar way of living only for those certains days, hours, living in suspense. The division of multiple lives, multiple possibilities brought week 21 into my mind. All of these relationships, relying on that certain connection between two people. How do they know it will last? How do they find the will to wait? The blind trust part never ceases to amaze me. However, it does make me think twice about the manner of commitment a changeable and uncertain relationship entails.
In a sense, Henry and Clare’s relationship can be described as a long-distance relationship, especially in the beginning, before they finally meet in real time. The List with the dates when they are going to meet, fleeting moments of rapture at the expense of long periods of loneliness. Clare’s situation caught my fascination first, since her experience is more linear and easier to follow. She literally waits her whole life for this guy, right? I mean, sure, they are great together and everything, but she never really has any other option, does she? Since she was little she has known this person who is going to be her husband in the future, planned her life around him and gone out of her way to meet him in real life, coaching him to become the person she met when she was little. She never truly explores other options. Which makes me wonder about this one true love thing. I mean it seems great on paper, to find someone when you are young and that will be it and you live happily ever after. I don’t mean that they don’t struggle, but that the whole process of finding someone in the first place is over and done with pretty soon. Whereas for him, the process is harder; Henry goes through his adolescenc going out and doing his thing and then he meets this girl who practically says they are going to be married and that’s that again. His other relationships are not really dealt with because they don’t matter. In the context of the novel, they don’t really because it’s all about him and Clare. I guess it all comes down to how do you know and what you are willing to do now that you do.
genetics and babies
Should people with some form of genetic abnormality procreate? This a universal question that also crops up in this novel. First of all, what is abnormal? In this case is the time travelling, which Alba inherits from Henry. This reminded me of Lupin in Harry Potter, wigging out about whether or not he will pass his werewolf-status to his child. Also, if anyone ever watched Bones, they remember when Angela and Hodgins were expecting and found out there is a one in four chance that their kid will be born blind (spoiler alert, he wasn’t).
What is this fear really about? I mean I understand that if you suffer from a serious medical condition that inhibits ou from living your life, you probably want to spare anyone else from having to go through what you did. In the case of this novel, it is not completely clear whether the condition is good or bad. I mean, there are definite lows to it, with the dangerous situations it puts Henry in and the waiting around for him for Clare. But there are some perks as well, like the 8 million dollar lottery ticket (I’d like one too, please) and the trips back to his parents when they were both alive and happy. And the whole relationship with Clare. Thanks to the steps forward with Dr Kendrick, Alba stands a better chance at understanding what is happening to her and possibly how to manage it. Still, from what I just read, it is not going to be all good. So what is the alternative? They don’t have a baby? They adopt? As Henry and Clare go through the options, eventually they always go back to the original plan. Why do people have children in the first place? To have something that lasts longer than them? To make a mark in the world? Create something out of love to know it once existed? Reasons are plenty and answers are never easy. At least Alba seems fine now.
changing in the name of love?
I don’t really believe in changing people. The idea of making someone out to be the perfect vision of a partner you had in your head at some point sounds very selfish and wrong. I believe people can become the best version of themselves when they are in a relationship with that special someone and that can be regarded as an indicator of knowing you are with the right person. Then again, I’m inclined to think that there can be multiple “ones” for a single person as I refuse to believe I’d have to rely on a SINGLE person in this world that laughs at my low odds of ever finding them. Which again brings me back to the idea of changing yourself for someone else. What if they leave and you have become someone you don’t even recognise? What if you thought you wanted a certain kind of person when you were fifteen and now that you are 35, you want something else and you can’t go back because you have forced someone to become that 15-year-old girl’s dream? This brings me to Henry and Clare. When Clare first starts dating the Henry in his twenties, he is not like the Henry of her childhood. Then again, steering him into the direction he was when they met in the past is not really changing him since he is already like that in the past? You see now why this book is so confusing?! Same with Clare’s situation; she is around Henry in her childhood which shapes her growing up process, making her into the person Henry is in love with in the future. But it is not that simple again, since Clare is living her own life, making her own choices that ultimately lead her to Henry. This is novel that will screw with your head and confuse even those that understand the scientific and philosophical aspects of it. Maybe this is not a novel to be analysed, only enjoyed while it lasts.
– Jatta –