The Time Traveler's Wife is a work that I ended up reading due to a quest of mine to read all the commonly read books of the day. Notice that these are not necessarily the best of the day, although they are for the most part not the worst, either. So in some ways, this book had a strike against it before I started reading it, because I was reading it wondering if it deserved its popularity. I wonder how I would feel if I came upon this as an obscure title buried in a thrift store, if I would view it as an eclectic and odd little story.
Theoretical questions aside, I view this book as very okay. It is also very middle brow, and in fact I don't know if truly understood the term "middle brow" until I read this book. The writing style is fairly complex, but at no point does it become experimental or challenging. The literary and cultural references are various and studied, but are not specifically insightful or deep.
This especially glaring given the entire point and purpose of the work: the story of time travel is one that is obviously given to both stylistic experimentation and a challenge to a person's standard mindset. However, the book seems to dodge the larger philosophical issues, if it is even aware enough of them to dodge them. Instead, the book is more a standard romance story with a gimmick attached. All the time travel does make for an interesting story, and some of the twists, turns, hints and foreshadowings that the author manages are entertaining. But that doesn't change the substance of the story, which is a fairly conventional romance between two characters who I didn't feel particularly interested in or sympathetic towards. Henry and Clare, the eponymous pair, are a pair of young bourgeois whose life outside of time traveling and its traumas consists of art shows, expensive food, and their bourgeois jobs.
And so the presentation of the story may be interesting, but its content is not.