Undoubtedly, one of the most imaginative romantic novels ever, The Time Traveler’s Wife is poignant, funny, and definitely, unforgettable.
In today’s post, we will be reading the 18 best quotes from The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
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Best Quotes from The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
- But no meaning
“Chaos is more freedom; in fact, total freedom. But no meaning.”
- A soul to call its own
“Henry loves my hair almost as though it is a creature unto itself, as though it has a soul to call its own, as though it could love him back.”
- I knew you when I was a little girl
“My head is throbbing. I need coffee. Leaving the marbled papers in a state of controlled chaos, I walk through the office and past the page’s desk in the Reading Room. I am halted by Isabelle’s voice saying, “Perhaps Mr. DeTamble can help you,” by which she means “Henry, you weasel, where are you slinking off to?” and this astoundingly beautiful amber-haired tall slim girl turns around and looks at me as through I am her personal Jesus. My stomach lurches. Obviously she knows me, and I don’t know her. Lord only knows what I’ve said, done, or promised to this luminous creature, so I am forced to say in my best librarianese, “Is there something I can help you with?” The girl sort of breathes “Henry!” in this very evocative way that convinces me that at some point in time we have a really amazing thing together. This makes it worse that I don’t know anything about her, not even her name. I say “Have we met?” and Isabelle givs me a look that says You asshole. But the girl says, “I’m Claire Abshire. I knew you when I was a little girl,” and invites me out to dinner. I accept, stunned.”
- Like a dark bird
“absence can be present, like a damaged nerve, like a dark bird”
- When the woman you live with is an artist
“When the woman you live with is an artist, every day is a surprise. Clare has turned the second bedroom into a wonder cabinet, full of small sculptures and drawings pinned up on every inch of wall space. There are coils of wire and rolls of paper tucked into shelves and drawers. The sculptures remind me of kites, or model airplanes. I say this to Clare one evening, standing in the doorway of her studio in my suit and tie, home from work, about to begin making dinner, and she throws one at me; it flies surprisingly well, and soon we are standing at opposite ends of the hall, tossing tiny sculptures at each other, testing their aerodynamics. The next day I come home to find that Clare has created a flock of paper and wire birds, which are hanging from the ceiling in the living room. A week later our bedroom windows are full of abstract blue translucent shapes that the sun throws across the room onto the walls, making a sky for the bird shapes Clare has painted there. It’s beautiful.”
- A thicket of black lines around a little red bird
The next evening I’m standing in the doorway of Clare’s studio, watching her finish drawing a thicket of black lines around a little red bird. Suddenly I see Clare, in her small room, closed in by all her stuff, and I realize that she’s trying to say something, and I know what I have to do.”
- After she died, I never really felt anything again
“…she could express her soul with that voice, whenever I listened to her I felt my life meant more than mere biology…she could really hear, she understood structure and she could analyze exactly what it was about a piece of music that had to be rendered just so…she was a very emotional person, Annette. She brought that out in other people. After she died I don’t think I ever really felt anything again.”
- After herm every action has lacked dimension
“Every minute of his life since then has been marked by her absence, every action has lacked dimension because she is not there to measure against. And when I was young I didn’t understand, but now, I know, how absence can be present, like a damaged nerve, like a dark bird.”
- When somebody is that patient, you cannot hurt them
“Very few people meet their soulmates at age six. So you gotta pass the time somehow. And Ingrid was very – patient. Overly patient. Willing to put up with odd behavior, in the hope that someday I would shape up and marry her martyred ass. And when somebody is that patient, you have to feel grateful, and then you want to hurt them. Does that make any sense?”
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- Call it art
“The compelling thing about making art—or making anything, I suppose—is the moment when the vaporous, insubstantial idea becomes a solid there, a thing, a substance in a world of substances. Circe, Nimbue, Artemis, Athena, all the old sorceresses: they must have known the feeling as they transformed mere men into fabulous creatures, stole the secrets of the magicians, disposed armies: ah, look, there it is, the new thing. Call it a swine, a war, a laurel tree. Call it art.”
- Somebody’s got to do it
“I feel moderately bad about this whole thing. On the one hand, I am providing myself with urgently required survival skills. Other lessons in this series include Shoplifting, Beating People Up, Picking Locks, Climbing Trees, Driving, Housebreaking, Dumpster Diving, and How to Use Oddball Things like Venetian Blinds and Garbage Can Lids as Weapons. On the other hand, I’m corrupting my poor innocent little self. I sigh. Somebody’s got to do it.”
- Sees footprints and realizes that it’s his own
“I still feel like a castaway, the last of a once numerous species. It was as though Robinson Crusoe discovered the telltale footprint on the beach and then realized that it was his own. Myself, small as a leaf, thin as water, begins to cry.”
- Keeping still
“I breathe slowly and deeply. I make my eyes still under eyelids, I make my mind still, and soon, Sleep, seeing a perfect reproduction of himself, comes to be united with his facsimile.”
- When you live with a woman
“When you live with a woman you learn something every day. So far I have learned that long hair will clog up the shower drain before you can say “Liquid-Plumr”; that it is not advisable to clip something out of the newspaper before your wife has read it, even if the newspaper in question is a week old; that I am the only person in our two-person household who can eat the same thing for dinner three nights in a row without pouting; and that headphones were invented to preserve spouses from each other’s musical excesses.”
- Right now we are here
“We are walking down the street holding hands. There is a playground at the end of the block, and I run to the swings and I climb on and Henry takes the one next to me facing the opposite direction. And we swing higher and higher passing each other, sometimes in synch and sometimes streaming past each other so fast that it seems we are going to collide. And we laugh and laugh, and nothing can ever be sad, no one can be lost or dead or far away. Right now we are here and nothing can mar our perfection or steal the joy of this perfect moment.”
- So he can be a bird
“He made the boxes because he was lonely. He didn’t have anyone to love, and he made the boxes so he could love them, and so people would know that he existed, and because birds are free and the boxes are hiding places for the birds so they will feel safe, and he wanted to be free and be safe. The boxes are for him so he can be a bird.”
- The best love makes us reach for more
“The best love is the kind that weakens the soul, that makes us reach for more. That plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.”
- Always wanted to paint you, shining
“After my mom died she ate my father up completely. She would have hated it. Every minute of his life since then has been marked by her absence, every action has lacked dimension because she is not there to measure against. And when I was young I didn’t understand, but now, I know, how absence can be present, like a damaged nerve, like a dark bird. If I had to live on without you I know I could not do it. But I hope, I have this vision of you walking unencumbered, with your shining hair in the sun. I have not seen this with my eyes, but only with my imagination, that makes pictures, that always wanted to paint you, shining; but I hope that this vision will be true, anyway.”
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That is all we have on today’s post on the best quotes from The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Did you like what you just read? Let us know in the comment section below.
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