Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire are the time traveler and the time traveler's wife, respectively. He is a librarian and she is an artist. Their life together is sometimes perfectly happy and normal, except for one thing -- neither of them know when Henry will simply disappear, literally, leaving his clothing in a limp pile. He has a genetic condition which causes him to travel in time, sometimes into the past, sometimes into the future. Just as abruptly, he will travel back to his present.
One device within the text that I found useful was the section header which provides a date plus Henry's and Clare's current ages. In the "present," Henry is eight years older than Clare. When he journeys into the past, he is sometimes an adult when she is a child. Nothing untoward ever happened during those visits, but in less deft hands, this aspect of the story could have had Lolitaesque overtones. I think the author neatly side-stepped them.
If you're not normally a fan of genre fiction, specifically science fiction, don't let that deter you from reading this book. The time traveling is integral to the plot, but the book also stands on its own as a 20th/21st century literary love story.
[Originally posted: 01/14/2004]