Thursday, July 7, 2011
"The Tiger's Wife" by Tea Obreht
The novel is centered around Natalia, a young doctor crossing the border of war-torn countries to deliver medicine at an orphanage. On the way, Natalia learns of the recent death of her grandfather, also a doctor. In thinking of her grandfather, Natalia begins to relate two tales from her grandfather's life: that of the "deathless man" and that of the tiger's wife.
The story of the tiger's wife is alluded to from the beginning, setting up what seems to be a great mystery. In reality, her story is less amazing than I had expected, and I'm not yet certain why her name is the title of the book. However, one of the things I did like is the way the two central stories give rise to other stories too, like that of Luka the butcher or Darisa the Bear.
Written in a "literary" style, I expected The Tiger's Wife to be far less engrossing that it was. Obreht's smooth and dreamy language and ability to create tension in each story kept me hooked.
Obreht's beautifully written novel addresses the nature of memory, superstition, and the stories we tell--and those we choose not to.