Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht

Natalia Stefanovi, a doctor living (and, in between suspensions, practicing) in an unnamed country that's a ringer for Obreht's native Croatia, crosses the border in search of answers about the death of her beloved grandfather, who raised her on tales from the village he grew up in, and where, following German bombardment in 1941, a tiger escaped from the zoo in a nearby city and befriended a mysterious deaf-mute woman. The evolving story of the tiger's wife, as the deaf-mute becomes known, forms one of three strands that sustain the novel, the other two being Natalia's efforts to care for orphans and a wayward family who, to lift a curse, are searching for the bones of a long-dead relative; and several of her grandfather's stories about Gavran Gailé, the deathless man, whose appearances coincide with catastrophe and who may hold the key to all the stories that ensnare Natalia.

My take: 3 looks
This is the typical 3 looks for me: I didn't dislike it, I didn't love it, I may or may not read more by this author.

This is the type of book that I lump together with Life of Pi, Cutting for Stone and others which are driven by character more than action or forward-moving story. There is a definite story here, but it is more about the progression of character development. The storyline moves back and forth in time and character perspective, but the rhythm is easy to follow and soon the back story merges with the current one. There was much symbolism here, much more than I understood. War, death, immortality, murder, fear. It was a very good book, but not my favorite type of writing. I may give it another read in a few years.


  1. Yeah, this was one BOTM that did not interest me.

  2. I liked her writing style, but not much the story. I basically read it because I'd won it on Goodreads. I'm not sure if I would have read it otherwise.