The Time Traveler’s Wife

by Audrey Niffenegger
Published by MacAdam/Cage, San Francisco, USA, 2003
Book dimensions: H 236 x W 175 x D 55mm
Box dimensions: H 265 x W 207 x D 87mm
Sample board #56
Bound in 2020
Private Collection, UK

About the book:
The Time Traveler’s Wife is the debut novel by the American author Audrey Niffenegger. It is a love story about Henry, a man, with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and about Clare, his wife, an artist, who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences of reappearing in odd places

About the binding:

  •  Full leather binding bound in taupe-coloured bull skin with miscellaneous coloured leather onlays.
  • The leather is embroidered over the onlays with coloured silks and metallic threads using a variety of embroidery stitches.
  • 24 carat gold leaf highlights adorn the front and back covers of the binding.
  • The edges of the cover design are blind tooled.
  • The endpapers were made using acrylic paints in red and grey, in combination with a crackle glaze, creating a “crazed” effect that then had gold leaf laid behind some of the cracks.
  • The paper doublures are made to look like a library card, with dates stamped and written on.
  • The top and bottom edges of the text block are also printed with the date stamp.
  • Veneered oak box, with the original brass perpetual calendar that the design is based on inset into the lid. 
  • The dial of the calendar can still be turned by opening the lid of the box revealing the back of the calendar visible in a hole drilled though the lid.

Design Description:

The whole design of this book hinged on vintage brass perpetual calendar. A perpetual calendar is a calendar that is valid for many years and is usually designed to look up the day of the week for a given date in the future. Given the main character moves back and forth in time randomly, the idea of a perpetual calendar tied in very well with this. The endpapers and doublures were also designed with the idea of travelling back and forth in time. Given the two main characters met in a library, I decided to make the doublures appear like the library cards you get inside books, stamped with due dates. The dates that were to appear on the doublures were the dates in the order that they appear through the book.

More details about this binding can be read over five blog posts, starting here.

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