Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Thoughts: The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht

The Tiger's Wife is like every good book more than just a book. It is entertainment and subject for discussion as it addresses the Balkan wars for example. Center point is the story of Natalia, a young doctor, who learns from her grandfathers death, who was a doctor too, and wants to figure out its particulars. A story unfolds which is made from childhood memories, superstitious myths told by Balkan villagers and the after-war present in which Natalia tries to find her truth.

The story starts out with Natalia and her grandfather visiting the local zoo to see the tigers. The dustpan man's arm lands in the tiger's mouth, which is only a hint on a tiger's role later in the novel. Two different myths draw through the book: the myth of the tiger's wife and second the myth of the deathless man both adding to the magical realism genre in which this book belongs.

What stays most with me are Obreht's descriptions of war, "Those first sixteen months of wartime held almost no reality, and this made them irresistible... Never mind that, three hundred miles away, girls sitting in bomb shelters were getting their periods at the age of seven." Reading the book certainly feels like Obreht describing her everyday surroundings but mind you she left former Yugoslavia when she was only seven. I'd definitely pick up another book by her.


  1. I picked this up in a book sale completely on spec since I'd never heard of this Author. Sounds like I should give it a go.


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  4. I have never read a book quite like this. It is very different from the genre I usually choose. I was fascinated by the author's story telling ability... so beautifully descriptive and imaginative.

    Charmaine Smith (Alija Colakovic - Legend Cars Limo Service)