Niffenegger, frustrated in love when she began the work, wrote the story as a metaphor for her failed relationships. The tale's central relationship came to her in a flash one day and subsequently became the novel's title.
The novel, which has been classified as both science fiction and romance, examines issues of love, loss, and free will.
In particular, it uses time travel to explore miscommunication and distance in relationships. It also investigates deeper existential questions.
As a first-time novelist, Niffenegger had trouble finding a literary agent. She eventually sent the novel to MacAdam/Cage unsolicited and, after an auction took place for the rights, Niffenegger selected them as her publisher. It became a bestseller after an endorsement from author and family friend Scott Turow on The Today Show, and as of March 2009 had sold nearly 2.5 million copies in the United States and the United Kingdom. Many reviewers were impressed with Niffenegger's unique perspective on time travel. Some praised her characterization of the couple, applauding their emotional depth; others criticized her writing style as melodramatic and the plot as emotionally trite.
Audrey Niffenegger dyed her hair Clare-red to say "goodbye" to the novel after she had finished writing it.
The novel won the Exclusive Books Boeke Prize and a British Book Award. A film version starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana is scheduled for release in August 2009.
All from scratch!