The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger 2003 by Audrey Niffenegger.


This novel by Audrey Niffenegger is about Clare's time-travelling husband Henry whose genetic clock periodically "resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing."

In this book Audrey depicts "the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare's marriage and their passionate love for each other." One of the events in their story is the birth of their daughter Alba. The following excerpt comes from that event where the reference to the sound of a phonograph record contributes to the description of Alba emerging from the womb:


Excerpt: Wednesday, September 5 -- Thursday September 6, 2001 (Henry is 38, Clare is 30)

...and then I feel as though Alba is surging, rushing and I push without thinking and we do this again and again like a game, like a song. Someone says Hey, Where'd the Dad go? I look around but Henry is gone, he is nowhere not here and I think God damn him, but no, I don't mean it God, but Alba is coming, she is coming and then I see Henry, he stumbles into my vision, disoriented and naked but here, he's here! and Amit says Sacre Dieu! and then Ah, she has crowned, and I push and Alba's head comes out and I put my hand down to touch here head, her delicate slippery wet velvet head and I push and push and Alba tumbles into Henry's waiting hands and someone says Oh! and I am empty and released and I hear a sound like an old vinyl record when you put the needle in the wrong groove and then Alba yells out and suddenly she is here, someone places her on my belly and I look down and her face, Alba's face, is so pink and creased and her hair is so black and her eyes blindly search and her hands reach out and Alba pulls heself up to my breasts and she pauses, exhausted by the effort, by the sheer fact of everything.



Another phonograph related scene takes place at Lourdes' house, a friend of Clare's, where they go to celebrate Henry's 43rd birthday.

Excerpt: Friday, June 16, 2006 (Henry is 43, Clare is 35)

Lourdes smiles and beckons us inside, and as we step in I see that the apartment has been transformed into a restaurant with only one table. Beautiful smells are wafting around, and the table is laid with white damask, china, candles. A record player stands on a heavy carved sideboard...Clare says, "I got you a present. Close your eyes." I close my eyes. I hear Clare push her chair back from the table. She walks across the room. Then there is a noise of a needle hitting vinyl...a hiss...violins...a pure soprano piercing like sharp rain through the clamor of the mother's voice, singing Lulu. I open my eyes Clare sits across the table from me, smiling. I stand up and pull her from her chair, embrace her. "Amazing," I say, and then I can't continue so I kiss her.

Clare had purchased this record the previous day at Vintage Vinyl from Vaughn, the owner of the store:

Suddenly Vaughn grins at me. "I've got something really oddball for you---I've been saving it for Henry." He steps behind the counter and fishes around in the depths for a minute. "Here." Vaughn hands me an LP in a blank white jacket. I slide the record out and read the label: "Annette Lyn Robinson, Paris Opera, May 13, 1968, Lulu." I look at Vaughn, questioningly. "Yeah, not his usual thing, huh? It's a bootleg of a concert; it doesn't officially exist. He asked me to keep an eye out for her stuff a while back, but it's not my usual thing, either, so I found it and then I kept forgetting to tell him. I listened to it; it's really nice. Good sound quality."

"Thank you," I whisper.

"You're welcome. Hey, what's the big idea?"

"She's Henry's mother."




ISBN 1-931561-64-8