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Literature / The Time Traveler's Wife

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Once upon many times, there was a librarian named Henry.

At the age of 5, Henry developed Chrono Displacement Disorder. At any time, especially when under stress, he can and will disappear and reappear in another time and location, mostly within his lifetime. He can't ever change anything in the past, and he knows something very bad happens to him in his forties. He's had to learn how to fight, pick locks, and steal for every time he's thrown somewhere, as he is basically helpless, unarmed, and naked wherever he arrives. Anything that isn't truly part of him stays behind, to the extent he had to have a tooth pulled just because he kept losing the filling. Sometimes he ends up getting to live through the same traumatic situations in his life over and over and over and over again.

Those are the disadvantages.

The advantage is that during his 30s, Henry began to time-travel into the childhood of his wife, Clare, from ages 6 to 18. She grew to love him during these trips. And so, by the time they actually meet in real time when he's 28 and she's 20, she has known him all her life and knows that she ends up marrying him. Meanwhile, Henry is initially surprised and confused, having never met her before, but soon he falls for her like she did for him, and they begin dating, eventually getting married. Not long after, they try to have a child, which makes things even more complicated.

A science fiction novel by Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife explores all the complexities of its premise and its effects on otherwise perfectly ordinary people — and you will not find it in the science fiction section of your library. (More often than not, it'll be stuck in general fiction — or in the romance section, effectively trading one genre ghetto for another.) Any recommendation of the book should come with a serious Tear Jerker warning.

The book has gone on to influence many Science Fiction authors, most notably Steven Moffat, who for a time was the lead writer of Doctor Who, and created characters with a similar premise.

A film adaptation was released in 2009, starring Rachel McAdams as Clare and Eric Bana as Henry. A live-action series, written by the aforementioned Moffat and starring Theo James and Rose Leslie, aired in 2022 on HBO.

This novel provides examples of:

  • Age-Gap Romance: A different version from the usual, with all the complexities of the time travel involved. Clare figures out early on who Henry is going to be in her life, and Henry already knows that they get married in the future. They do wait until her 18th birthday for Their First Time, and it's her first time with him and not vice versa for two more years.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • Henry has a serious drinking problem. He more or less gives it up after meeting Clare. In the book, he outright tells Clare he's an alcoholic, and while he cuts way back on the drinking after he and Clare get together, he still drinks pretty regularly, despite his doctor's advice and knowing that it tends to make time travel more likely.
    • Henry's father hits the bottle hard after losing Annette, to the point that it eventually destroys his ability to play the violin professionally with permanent nerve damage.
  • Anachronic Order: The story jumps around in time, always making a note of the ages of Henry and Clare in that scene, and on some occasions the ages of more than one Henry. In fact, the person who teaches him to pick locks and steal wallets is himself from the future.
  • Astral Projection: Mentioned when Alicia is talking with Clare, who gives a Sarcastic Confession for the naked 40-year-old Henry that Alicia saw in her house.
    Alicia: Maybe it was, you know, astral projection or something.
    Clare: Time travel.
    Alicia: Oh yeah, right. God, how bizarre.
  • Author Appeal: The author most definitely wants to make it very clear step by step in vivid detail how Clare creates some of her art work.
  • Author Avatar: The dedication makes it sound like Niffenegger sees Clare as one for herself, and she dyed her own hair red to “say goodbye” to the character, but Nifenegger says Clare is very different from herself and her author avatar was originally Ingrid. (Fortunately for those worried about Niffenegger’s welfare, she also says the character evolved into someone unrecognizable from there.) A Q&A in the tenth anniversary edition also reveals that Henry speaks with the author's natural voice and his tastes and worldview are hers.
  • Badass Bookworm: Henry may be a professional librarian, but don't even think of calling him a fag and trying to beat him up based on the ridiculous clothes he's forced by circumstance to wear. He will end you. And whatever you do, for the love of god do NOT brutalize his future wife because she wouldn't put out. I don't care if it seems like a good idea at the time, JUST DON'T.
  • Beneficial Disease: One of the reasons Dr. Kendrick argues that Henry is the future of mankind is that he has the ultimate fight-or-flight response, as shown by his survival of the car crash that killed his mother: if Henry's in sudden danger, he can just time-travel away.
    • Unfortunately, it doesn't work if he time travels into the danger, such as the bitter cold that freezes his feet, and especially if it hits just as he arrives and before he has time to act, as when he gets shot.
  • Beta Couple: Charisse and Gomez, although Gomez continues to harbor deep feelings for Clare decades after his one-night stand with her.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Every few pages. Trilingual, really: English, German, and French.
  • Blessed with Suck: Henry can time-travel — but he doesn't have any control over it. His ability targets the most memorable places, people, and events in his life — the traumatic ones even more so than the positive ones. For every time he gets to visit his wife as a teenager or his infant daughter as a ten-year-old, he has to watch his ex-girlfriend kill herself over him or see his mother die for the fiftieth time. And on top of all this, the story takes place in an Eternist universe. Basically, everything that has ever happened, good and bad, was supposed to happen the way it did, and Henry can't do a damn thing about it. It doesn't take him long to wonder if the universe is actively fucking with him.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite going missing for days at a time and being caught naked in the stacks multiple times, Henry is allowed to keep his job at the library and his co-workers take bets as to the REAL reason for his odd behaviour.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Getting a vasectomy doesn't work when you're an inadvertent time traveler. Oh, the vasectomy worked fine, but if your wife gets it on with a pre-vasectomy version of you...
  • Can't Take Anything with You: This causes Henry a lot of hell every time he time travels. Whenever he arrives he has to steal clothes, which causes him a lot of trouble. He also had to have a tooth removed as he kept on leaving behind the filling.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Sort of. When Henry, already married to Clare, travels back in time to Clare's childhood, he eventually admits to the teenaged version of her that they are already married in the future. (Well, her future.)
  • Christianity is Catholic: Zig-Zagged in the novel, most often brought up as a reason characters would not consider abortion for an unwanted pregnancy.
    • Clare's family is rather conservatively Catholic. The only two religious ceremonies shown in the book (a Christmas Mass and Henry and Clare's church wedding) both happen at Clare's family parish.
    • Sharon, Clare's brother's girlfriend and eventually wife, is also Catholic, telling Henry this is why abortion isn't an option for them and they have to get married. Henry reflects internally that he knows quite a few Catholic girls who managed to have an abortion without any sort of divine punishment, but says nothing about the situation to others.
    • Henry's father is Episcopalian, and his mother was Jewish. None of the three are particularly religious, however.
    • Dr. Kendrick also mentions that he and his wife are Catholic, thus they would not have considered abortion even if they'd received accurate genetic testing on their son.
  • Clothesline Stealing: Henry has involuntary time-travelling episodes and is Naked on Arrival. The first thing he has to do during a trip is find clothes, and this is one of his go-to methods.
  • Coquettish Lip Biting: During Henry's first meeting (at least from his point of view) with his future wife Clare he gets weirded out by her when she gives him an intense Meaningful Look while biting her lip.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Alba has an arguably better deal than Henry, as she can sometimes choose the date and location of where she travels to. She still has random time-travelling fits.
  • Comforting the Widow: Charise believes this is Gomez's long-term plan to get together with Clare. Gomez tries but fails.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: He couldn't help it.
  • Dead Man Writing: Henry writes one, despite not being sure he'll actually be dead when it's read.
  • Dirty Communists: Parodied by Gomez, who turns his Neo-Marxism into a Running Gag.
  • Disability Superpower: A Deconstructed Trope. Being a time traveler is a genetic disorder and is portrayed as a medical condition — a very strange one, but a medical condition nonetheless — and it is nothing but hell. Well, except for cheating and winning the lottery.
  • Disappeared Dad: Henry, off and on, all the time.
  • Distant Finale: Main story set 1968-2008, epilogue 'Always Again' in July 2053.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Henry lives with a genetic disorder that disrupts his life and relationships, he fears passing on to his child, and suspects may eventually kill him. The parallels to many real-life conditions are obvious.
  • Double Standard: When she first brings Henry to meet her family after meeting him in the present, Clare chafes when her conservative Catholic father scolds her for having Henry in her room with the door locked, even though all they were doing was having a private conversation. Meanwhile, Clare's older brother Mark is sharing a room with his fiancée Sharon. However, in the latter case, the parents reluctantly allow it because they are engaged to be married, and they know Sharon is already pregnant. Clare still bristles about the situation, even though Henry manages to slip into her room and have sex with her on three different occasions during the visit.
  • Downer Ending: And the fact that it is a Foregone Conclusion doesn't make it any easier.
  • Ethnic Menial Labor: Nell, Clare's childhood nanny and cook, fits the "Mammy" stereotype to a T.
  • Everyone Is Christian at Christmas: Played with. Henry first meets Clare's parents during a stay at Clare's childhood home in Michigan over Christmas. There's a moment of tension when they realize (because his mother is a famous singer, and Clare's parents are fans aware of her Jewish heritage) that they have served Henry ham unthinkingly...which he noted when thinking about his mother earlier, then ate anyway. Henry explains that he's not observant, and never really cared to be.
  • Exact Words: When telling Clare's sister about his father, Henry mentions his father locked him out of their apartment in all kinds of weather. What's not addressed is whether some or most these incidents were when he was time traveling.
  • Fantastic Romance: It's about a time traveler and focuses on his romance with his wife.
  • Fille Fatale: Clare was a little like this as a teenager. Her friend Helen tries for this image as a teen.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Henry knows, for the majority of his life, that something terrible will happen to him before he turns fifty. No matter where in time or space he goes, he keeps finding more signs that point to it. The only thing he doesn't know is what, exactly, it is. "Losing both feet to frostbite" and "Accidental shooting at the hands of your brother-in-law" probably weren't high on the list, but it's what happens.
  • Foreshadowing: Henry's fate is foreshadowed a lot in the narrative. For one thing, throughout the book Henry keeps time travelling to places where important events happened or will happen to him. The reason for his repeated appearance in the meadow where Clare first met him becomes clear by the end: It's where he gets fatally shot by Clare's brother.
  • Future Badass: Future versions of Henry teach his child self skills he'll later need, such as pick-pocketing, fighting and lock-picking.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Trope Namer Hiro has nothing on Henry. Clare and Henry on their first date in the present (she 20, he 28):
    Clare: Have you seen yourself, in your forties?
    Henry: Yes. I look like I've been spindled and mutilated.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Niffenegger occasionally has Henry use the phrase "und so weiter", which means "and so on" in German. Henry quotes poetry in French and German on several occasions, only a few with translations.
  • Happily Married: Despite the obvious complications of being married to an involuntary time traveler, Henry and Clare have a very loving and happy marriage, aside from fights about continuing to try for a baby despite risk to Clare's life.
  • Help Yourself in the Future: Henry does this by accident by impregnating Clare after his future self had a vasectomy.
  • Human Resources: In the book, Charisse asks Henry if the rumor that his library has a rare book that was bound in human skin is true, and he says yes. Subverted in that later on, his boss threatens to use Henry's hide to rebind the book, and Henry says it doesn't actually exist.
  • I Hate Past Me: Henry gets annoyed with both past and future versions of himself when they complicate his life.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Clare's brother completely ignores the rules of gun safety, resulting in Henry's death. Specifically, he fails to properly identify his target before he fires and fatally injures Henry.
  • In the Blood: Henry and Clare's daughter also has fits of chrono-displacement, but unlike her father, she can exert a degree of control over them.
  • I Will Wait for You: Clare. All the time. There isn't much else she can do, under the circumstances.
  • The Jailbait Wait: Henry and Clare wait til she's eighteen to have sex. Of course given the time travel, he's already had sex with her future self, but for her it will be the first time.
  • Justified Criminal: What's a guy to do when he's constantly naked in public in snowy weather? Steal some clothes. And likely beat up anyone who objects.
  • Kid from the Future: Chrono Displacement Disorder is hereditary.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Clare, who desperately wants a baby, suffers miscarriage after miscarriage. Her brother Mark and his girlfriend, who in no way want a pregnancy at their age, end up with an unplanned pregnancy and, being observant Catholics, are then obliged to marry.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Henry had practically no friends before he met Clare, and tended to keep to himself.
  • Missing Mom: Henry's mom's tragic death when he was six. Guess what traumatic event he gets to visit the most often?
  • Mistaken for Gay: Henry gets attacked when seen walking in a bad alleyway in flamboyant clothes while travelling through time.
  • The Mourning After:
    • Ingrid can never accept that Henry is deeply in love with Clare and will never return her love. Despite Celia's clear and longstanding interest, Ingrid despairs over not having Henry and eventually kills herself over his not loving her.
    • Henry's father mourns losing his wife deeply, becoming an alcoholic mess for years, and although he eventually pulls himself out of it, there is no indication of any later romantic interests.
    • After Clare loses Henry, she never stops loving Henry, and despite Gomez's hopes of Comforting the Widow, never loves anyone else romantically.
  • My Future Self and Me: Henry hangs out with future versions of himself a few times. Sometimes they share his apartment, sometimes they commit crimes to train the younger version, sometimes they sexually experiment. All in the glamorous life of a time-traveler.
  • My Own Private "I Do": For an unusual reason — Clare and Henry have a civil ceremony after the big wedding because Henry completely missed the wedding, even though no one noticed because his future self showed up to take his place.
  • Naked on Revival: A variant involving time travel rather than death.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Averted. Clare is a successful artist, with her own highly praised show, something achieved entirely through her own efforts and talent.
  • Never Win the Lottery: A Subverted Trope: This is the one thing Henry can really exploit in his situation. And he does, for Clare's sake. Yet he continues to hold down a job to the best of his ability and live as normally as possible.
  • Newspaper Dating: Henry prefers to avoid this trope - he's more likely to ask a friend what the date is.
    • Played straight at one point, though: Henry glances across a newspaper and realizes where he is, and what the date is, and therefore what's needed of him at that moment: He sees that he's in South Haven, on the date of his wedding, which means he needs to hurry to the wedding to take the place of the younger Henry that's about to disappear before the ceremony.
  • No Antagonist: The book and the film have no true villain; all of the conflict comes from Henry's Power Incontinence.
  • Non Linear Storytelling: There's a complicated pattern, as the book starts when Henry and Clare meet and progresses roughly linear from there, but there's also random travels of Henry's. The meetings of Henry and Clare as a child are in a complicated pattern, with each time either in Clare's order of encounter or Henry's.
  • Now I Know What to Name Him:
    Henry: I have a genetic anomaly. It's called Chrono-Impairment. That's a term you came up with, apparently... Of course, now I've mentioned it, you will call it that - and it'll be hard to tell which came first.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Henry's first time-traveling experience happened in the middle of the night (good thing his older self was there to meet him) and he assumed he was having a weird dream.
  • Post 9/11 Terrorism Story: Niffenegger had almost completed the book when the September 11 attacks happened. It inspired a new scene to further illustrate the limits of Henry's power (and his helpless acceptance of those limits).
  • Power Degeneration: Henry's condition seems to worsen as he ages, experiencing more violent fits when he time-travels, and in his last few years he's traveling much more frequently. Inverted regarding how far in time he can travel; his first trip is only a few hours, and this gradually expands until, as an adult, he is traveling throughout his own lifetime and occasionally beyond it. Henry tells Kendrick to expect something similar with his time-traveling mice.
  • Power Incontinence: Henry has no control whatsoever over his time-traveling, and it often happens at highly inconvenient times. Some things tend to trigger his episodes, such as flashing lights, television, stress and alcohol, which is appropriate as his condition is compared to epilepsy several times.
  • Power Nullifier: Henry experiments with various drugs to stop himself from time-travelling. In one trial, using a formula for a medication that had not been invented yet but he copied from the future, Henry almost kills himself with a very bad reaction.
  • Power Perversion Potential:
  • Psycho Lesbian: Celia, though she's not so much a psycho as a manipulative asshole. She's more than willing to "forget" important details in a story for the sake of hurting Henry (see What the Hell, Hero? below), or to drag a newly-engaged Clare to a lesbian bar to meet Ingrid, just to rub it in Ingrid's face that Henry has moved on without her.
  • Puberty Superpower: Averted. Henry and Alba develop their power naturally, but start before they're 10.
  • Punny Name: Beau Thai restaurant.
  • Retroactive Precognition: Used by Henry to prove he's telling the truth about time-traveling, or for profit. In addition, this is how older Henry traveling in the past knows that he will eventually convince some people (like Gomez, Charisse, and Dr. Kendrick) that he really can time travel: because they're actively helping him in his present.
  • Retroactive Preparation: This, on the other hand, is how Henry had to convince Dr. Kendrick that he's actually time traveling, and not delusional. Future-Henry looks up the birth certificate of Kendrick's first child after it is born, then on one of his jaunts into Clare's past, he dictates the contents of the certificate to Clare as a young lady. Young Clare writes the information down, then seals it in an envelope, then waits until after she and Henry are married, holding onto it until they need it. When Henry finds Dr. Kendrick, his wife is a few months away from giving birth. Henry gives him the envelope, and tells him to open it once the child is born. Of course, the information correctly predicts that he's having a son with Down's syndrome, despite genetic testing erroneously telling him he's having a daughter with no genetic abnormalities. Even with all of that, and Henry explaining how he got the information, Kendrick still refuses to believe Henry until he sees Henry vanish before his own eyes, leaving his clothes behind.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Clare pulls this when Alicia tells her that she could swear she saw a naked 40-year-old Henry in her house once.
    Alicia: Maybe it was, you know, astral projection or something.
    Clare: Time travel.
    Alicia: Oh yeah, right. God, how bizarre.
  • Screw Yourself: Teenage Henry has a different definition of self-loving. When his dad walked in on him and... erm... him, Henry decided to just stick to more traditional outlets.
  • Serial Escalation: A small but humorous use. When Henry first goes back to his tiny studio apartment, he opens seventeen locks to get in. When he leaves for his date with Clare, he locks thirty-seven on the way out. By the time he brings Clare to his apartment for the first time, he's unlocking 107 locks to let her in!
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Averted. Henry discovers by trying at least a few times to save the life of his mother, and a little girl, that he lives in an Eternist universe wherever everything happens, as it was meant to happen, and the past cannot be changed, no matter how hard you try. By the time September 11, 2001 comes around, Henry has accepted the lesson so much that he makes no attempt to warn anyone about what's going to happen, because he already knows doing so won't change things in the slightest.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: When the title time traveler... time travels.
  • The Slow Path: The true core of the novel, and indeed the inspiration for the Trope Namer, a Doctor Who episode. Clare must ever wait for her Odysseus to return to her.
  • Small Reference Pools: An Averted Trope. Can seem as if Niffenegger is referencing obscure works purely for her own amusement. (Even those who have little trouble keeping up with the characters' knowledge of art and poetry may still find the incessant quotations and art analysis annoying.)
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: A minor example near the end of the book, when in December, 2006 Clare mentions that Colin Kendrick (born April, 1996) is fourteen years old when he should only be ten.
  • Stable Time Loop: Niffenegger must have had fun drawing out the timeline.
    • The most prominent time loop is the fact that Clare has been falling in love with Henry since she was 6 years old, and then has a huge role in shaping Henry into being the sort of man she fell in love with.
    • Dr. Kendrick invents the term "chronoimpairment" for Henry's disorder. Or at least, that's what Henry tells him he will do...
  • Suicide Is Painless: Ingrid's not the most stable woman in the world, and it shows when it's revealed she's tried to kill herself four times. Fifth time's the charm, and a Henry from the future gets to travel back to witness it.
  • Suspiciously Specific Tense: How a future Henry accidentally lets slip to Clare that her mother is dead in the year he comes from.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Between Henry and Clare, repeatedly. Surprisngly though, the POV doesn't switch to Alba at the end, which might have been the obvious thing to do but would have undercut the Downer Ending.
  • Tempting Fate
    Henry: "If anything ever happens to my feet, you might as well shoot me."
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Henry tends to avoid this, given that he's trying to live as normal a life as possible, but he's not above using his condition for his own advantage at times, such as seeing concerts, winning the lottery and getting stock tips. He recommends to both Kimy and Gomez to invest in websites such as Google and Amazon, when Gomez doesn't even know what the internet is.
    • Alba also time-travels to see her grandmother sing in concert, as well as to see Henry.
  • Time-Travel Romance: Naturally.
  • Time-Traveler's Baby: Henry's time-travelling disorder causes his wife to suffer multiple miscarriages (i.e. the fetuses keep traveling out of her wombnote ). To spare her any more pain, he gets a vasectomy. However, his past self, pre-vasectomy, visits present Clare in one of his travels and impregnates her. Their daughter is also able to time travel, but has much better control over it.
  • Tragic Time Traveler: Not only does Henry's Chrono Displacement Disorder cause him to frequently disappearing from his lover's life for years at a time, he ends up uncovering and building his relationship with her all out of order, and his inability to change the past has led him to becoming a depressed fatalist with little to no agency in his own existence.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Maybe we haven't mentioned this anywhere on the website, but lots of horrifying things happen to Henry.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Henry in his 20s certainly qualifies as 'troubled,' but after falling in love with a far more stable Henry in his 30s and 40s, Clare doesn't find it all that cute. She has to be told by a 33-year-old Henry to have patience with his younger self before she can fall in love with him in the present day.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Celia, the black lesbian who had a crush on Henry's ex-girlfriend Ingrid.
  • Unreliable Narrator: When Henry and Clare meet at the library, we first get Clare's point of view, saying that Henry is calm and patient, in other words, the Henry she remembers. Then we get Henry's point of view: He's hungover, unshaven, depressed over his latest fight with Ingrid, and overall just not at his best.
  • Unstuck in Time: The actual time-travel process is compared to an epileptic seizure. Henry says he can't keep ahold of the present time, he loses his grip and goes sliding off into another time and place.
  • Wife Husbandry: Henry first meets his wife Clare when she is six years old. He has no control over where and when he travels to, so it's not deliberate or malicious, but because they spend so much time together, he has a huge influence on her life and what sort of person she grows to become. Played with, in that Clare then goes on to have an equally strong influence on the man Henry matures into once they meet in his timeline.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After meeting Henry for the first time, Gomez decides to do some checking around on him and discovers he's a notorious womanizer with a pattern of strange behavior. Most alarmingly, Celia tells him he drove his ex Ingrid to attempt suicide. When Gomez discovers a Henry from the future beating a friend of Gomez's to a pulp, Gomez confronts him. To his surprise, Henry tells him the whole story about time travel, needing to fight to survive and everything, because Henry knows full well Gomez will be his friend and aide eventually. He also points out that Ingrid didn't exactly need any help to be driven to suicide. (See Suicide Is Painless above.)
  • What Year Is This?: Henry's preferred method of ascertaining the time he's currently in is to ask someone else, but he'll usually refrain from asking complete strangers, and ask his friends (or other selves) what the date is instead.
    • On one occasion, Henry bumps into Gomez unexpectedly, and asks Gomez the time. (Henry doesn't wear a watch because it would just get left behind if he disappears.) Gomez tells him, and adds the date and year, to which Henry thanks him, but since he's not traveling at the moment, he knows the date already.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: All the time travel he does is why Henry seems to age so fast. He's not sure how old he actually is but he figures it probably amounts to several years on top of his calendar age.
    • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Earlier in his life he wonders if he might actually be a few years younger than he should be. It's quite possible, as the stress of his life would age him.
    • Henry can travel to another time and spend hours or weeks there, then return to find only a few minutes or hours have passed since he left. Less often it happens the other way round.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Played for all the angst it's worth. It's heavily implied that Henry is operating in an Eternist Universe and everything, good and bad, that has ever happened was supposed to happen that way and there's not a damn thing he can do about it. It should be noted, however, that the writing is so good that the angst is handled very well.
  • You No Take Candle: Averted; Ms. Kim, or Kimy (Henry's surrogate mother) lives in Chicago's Koreatown. If not for that, it would be pretty hinky that her English hasn't gotten any better over the few decades of the story.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Never stated outright, but it's heavily implied that the tension between Henry and his father is because Henry's condition let him survive the crash that killed his mother, and Richard resents Henry for this.
  • You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You: This is Henry's default position when it comes to explaining any strange behavior people observe from him, because of course the truth of Chrono Displacement Disorder is too far out to be accepted. On the few occasions co-workers have caught him naked in the library, he refuses to explain himself, because he won't lie, but he knows the truth won't be believed. Eventually they do learn the truth, when a naked future-Henry appears in an area that no one can get in or out without the use of welding equipment. Proving Henry right, the boss refuses to believe future-Henry's explanation about time travel... until a fully-clothed present-Henry appears after learning of the situation when he shows up for work.