Sound confusing? The amazing thing is that, on the page, it never is. All you have to do is buy that Henry suffers from "chrono-displacement disorder", which means that at any moment he can he can be transported from the present to the past or future. We shuttle between every age of these charming characters, watching them fall in love, watching them struggle to build a stable family, watching them deal with staggering loss. And through it all, bounced through time and from tragedy to bliss and back, we remain as grounded as though we were reading the simplest of plotlines. Because we are.
Somehow through all the extraordinary pyrotechnics of a tale told out of time, what Niffenegger has really done is breathe fresh life into the oldest story in the world, the story of boy meets girl.
Narrated by the ghost of the son of the world's most influential science-fiction writer, the recurring Vonnegut character Kilgore Trout, Galapagos tells the story of the "the Nature Cruise of the Century" upon which the future of humanity turns out to rest. Like The Time-Traveler's Wife this is a thought experiment turned into a page-turner, and the experiment here goes something like this: is there any way humanity can evolve so that both people and the planet they inhabit might have a future to look forward to? The resulting pages are a strangely uplifting and invigorating, "Yes."