Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fishing for Tigers” as Want to Read:
Fishing for Tigers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Fishing for Tigers

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  218 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews

Six years ago, Mischa Reese left her abusive husband and suffocating life in California and reinvented herself in steamy, chaotic Hanoi. In Vietnam, she finds satisfying work and enjoys a life of relative luxury and personal freedom. Thirty-five and single, Mischa believes that romance and passion are for teenagers; a vi
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Picador Australia (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fishing for Tigers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Fishing for Tigers

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 02, 2012 TheSmellOfPaper rated it really liked it
I was lucky enough to hear Emily Maguire speak earlier this year, and it was her obvious passion for this book, rather than the premise itself, that persuaded me to read it. I also love the title! But once I started reading, things that might have put me off - my idea of a blissful holiday is being on a wild empty beach with no one around, preferably in winter, not navigating the bustling, humid streets of an Asian city - drew me in. I'm not sure I went into this book with an open mind, but I ...more
Oct 30, 2012 Heidi rated it it was ok
Mischa, a middle-aged woman damaged by the legacy of an abusive marriage, has fled to Vietnam six years ago to escape her past and find a sense of identity and belonging. She spends her time working for an English language magazine and socialising with her expat friends, enjoying a life free of responsibilities. But despite loving life in Hanoi, Mischa has never been able to truly belong or find love again. When her friend Matthew’s eighteen-year-old son Cal, who is half Vietnamese, arrives for ...more
Amber Cernovs
Nov 04, 2012 Amber Cernovs rated it it was amazing
Emily Maguire deserves a standing ovation for her ability to capture the soul of Hanoi and the world view of her nest of characters. For me, Hanoi was love at first sight and over the years of living there my fascination and adoration for that city only got stronger. Where I have struggled to explain to family and friends how you can actually love a place and that sometimes I miss it so much it actually hurts, Emily has truly been able to convey that sense of wonder and attachment in this book. ...more
Bree T
Six years ago Mischa fled an abusive husband, leaving California for her family in Sydney and then on to Hanoi, Vietnam. She moved there with no job lined up, no real plan for what she wanted to do but things fell into place for her – she met an Australian ex-pat and became part of a tight-knit group and got a job editing translated pieces to make them more cohesive and natural sounding.

She loves Hanoi, with its vibrant, dirty, crowded streets and steamy heat. She’s happily single, having dated
Hayley Crandell
Jun 19, 2012 Hayley Crandell rated it it was amazing
I finished this last night and not really sure what to say. Yes, the descriptions of Vietnam are extremely evocative (I haven't been there, but the writing is so sensuous and descriptive that I feel like I have the 'feel' of the place), but really this book is about the characters. Mischa is a very 'real' protagonist, with faults and sometimes poor decision-making skills that make her less hero, but much more human. A true literary accomplishment.
Anne Treasure
Jun 19, 2012 Anne Treasure rated it it was amazing
I loved this book - I read it over one rainy, freezing weekend in winter, and despite sitting under layers of blankets I felt like I had been transported to steamy Vietnam. Maguire is a writer of infinite skill, and the authenticity of her prose is both jarring and transcendant. Her books make me feel uncomfortable and intrigued at once, and this is her best yet.
Oct 19, 2012 Sonia rated it liked it
This was originally posted at my blog

There was a time when all I read was non-fiction, there was the time when I only read plays. Then there was the time when I never read contemporary fiction. I’m not so extreme in my reading behaviour any more but I’d thought I’d elaborate on my anti-contemporary fiction phase – I didn’t read what fell into this category because I thought most of it would be rubbish and so I didn’t want to waste my time (you know, the old adage
Aug 21, 2012 Rhoda rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Firstly I would like to thank Hayley for the opportunity to read and review this book, as I won it on First Reads.

What I absolutely loved about this book were all the wonderful, colourful descriptions of Vietnam. The author's words just brought Vietnam to life completely. I haven't been there, but feel that I have had a real taste of it through this book. The author has really captured the noise, the tastes, the people, the culture and the seasons beautifully. It was all so descriptive and capti
Aug 14, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: first-read
I've never really thought about going to Vietnam but Fishing For Tigers has certainly changed my mind. It is a very easy, smooth read that touches on hard chringeworthy subjects without making them seem small and insignificant. I have to say I was not a fan of Cal, not because of the relationship or the age difference, I just found him to be very arrogant and also sometimes mean. I don't know if this was just because he is young and feels vulnerable and insecure but I didn't like it. Mischa I ...more
Michael Livingston
Jul 15, 2014 Michael Livingston rated it really liked it
Emily Maguire has a knack for storytelling - both this and her previous novel Smoke in the Room have premises that didn't immediately attract me and yet I read both in breathless binges, unable to stop. Fishing for Tigers real strength is its sense of place. Maguire creates a breathless and believable Hanoi, transporting me from Melbourne's grey winter to the humid, crowded streets of Vietnam. The characters are strong as well, with flaws that make them seem like real people, while leaving them ...more
Holly Quin
Oct 27, 2015 Holly Quin rated it it was amazing
I seriously loved this book. I binge read it in one day and now I'm feeling sad it's over. It transported me back to Hanoi and left me yearning for more. The way the author deals with nuanced issues like gender and race and sexuality and colonialism and ex-pat-ism was really refreshing. I did find the sex scenes a little awkward and forced but overall the book was incredible.
Feb 22, 2015 Theresa rated it liked it
3.5 stars. It was quite good, in a read-in-one-day sort of way. The expats (maybe more aptly called migrants) often made me cringe, which I guess was the point. The two main characters had more depth and backstories that kept me interested.
Nov 19, 2016 Jill rated it it was amazing
I inhaled this in two sittings. Atmospheric tale of an expatriate woman losing herself in Hanoi and then being forced to find herself through an affair with a much younger man, which by the sexual standards of the other foreigners in town should hardly raise an eyebrow. I gather that the author only spent a relatively short time in Vietnam, unlike her protagonist, but her description of alcohol-soaked, existentially unmoored and morally skew-whiff expats rings very true. The evocation of Hanoi ...more
Nov 03, 2016 Dave rated it really liked it
Once started and the characters are developed it is hard to put down. Emily Maguire deserved the award.
Oct 02, 2016 Rainier rated it liked it
I read this novel because of an upcoming trip to Hanoi - and because I've been drawn to books set Asia in general recently. Frankly, I expected a superficial, easy-to-read romance that would let me daydream a bit in anticipation of my own imminent travel. Instead, there were some deeper, thought-provoking conversation-starters on sexism, racism, colonialism and the expat-lifestyle, made all the more interesting because the characters had different perspectives than I usually run across. Maguire ...more
Oct 05, 2016 Deborah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, australian
Loved it. Wonderful characters, brilliant sense of place. Rich, complex, beautifully written.
Jun 09, 2013 Ellie rated it it was amazing
Emily Maguire’s “Fishing for Tigers” is perfect escapism; a holiday to the other side of the world without leaving your house.
Mischa Reese is a 35-years-old woman who is currently living in Hanoi, Vietnam, and has been for the last 6 years after escaping from her abusive husband. She left her family in Australia to try and rebuild her life, or avoid it all together. Her life is reasonably uneventful, revolving around working as a translator, or to be more exact, proof- reading translations from
Lizzy Chandler
Fishing for Tigers is about lust and betrayal, belonging and the meaning of home and family. It’s about expats living in Vietnam, of dislocation and clashing cultures. It’s about trauma and abuse creating the conditions for more trauma and abuse. It’s also, obliquely, about war and its place in history, how it changes lives and nations. Finally, it’s about the stories we tell ourselves, and allow to be told about us.

Emotionally, I found it disturbing, the depiction of the older women/younger m
Nerissa Keay
Sep 05, 2014 Nerissa Keay rated it really liked it
I was interested to read this book as I was traveling to Hanoi. This novel explores the life of an expat. Is it's attraction cheap domestic labour, 'servile' women or the experience of another culture. How do you experience a culture without learning the language? Is living overseas a way of avoiding responsibility? And can we really escape the clasp of family.

Do you buy the overpriced postcards?

The second character has more complicated issues, his father is an Australian expat living in Hanoi,
Oct 25, 2012 Vicky rated it liked it
It is a sad book.The story is about an international community in Vietnam, a mixture of people who made this country a temporary home. The idea of a drifting generation, of people who are unfulfilled and need to escape to another culture to feel that they have a life is really disturbing. These people are not as an old days explorers or lover of new languages and lands, they don't integrate, they create their little suffocating world and they exploit the same country that gives them an escape. ...more
Jacqueline King
Another great one by Emily Maguire. I never thought of traveling to Vietnam before but in a little over 300 pages Maguire has managed to convince me it is a place of wonder and experience, of pain and hardship. But mostly, Vietnam is a place to both lose and find yourself. The only reason this book did not receive 5 stars was the ending, which I found a little rushed and sudden, but ultimately unexpected. Highly recommended to travel enthusiasts, freedom lovers and those looking for a richly ...more
Sep 21, 2013 Megan rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2013
The good bits of this novel were the descriptions of expat life in Vietnam. I really did feel I was in Hanoi and Saigon. However, I found the characters annoying, overly needy and a bit crass for my liking. Even though they were meant to be annoying, overly needy and crass. I kept thinking that I wouldn't want to go out for lunch with these people, why would I want to read about them? It wasn't terrible and I think many people would absolutely love this book but it wasn't one of my favourites.
Sep 04, 2016 Ly rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
2.5: Fluid writing, and a book that does justice in its depiction of the voraciousness of female sexuality. Dialogue crackles and sparks, igniting a set of characters that, in the end, are all... entitled, irritating and ultimately unlikeable. This was a deal breaker for me. Call me old-fashioned, but there has to be at least one semi-redeemable character to keep me engaged.

I would definitely hunt down some of Maguire's other works - she spins words with apparent ease and there were some sure-f
Dec 17, 2012 Kath rated it liked it
I'd read a review of this in The Big Issue and thought it sounded interesting. I enjoyed the book - especially the themes about what "home" means, and the different places it can become. It was a quick read. I haven't been to Vietnam but thought the descriptions were good. I've lived and worked overseas so was interested to read about the expat experience in this book - their experiences were largely different to mine (in other parts of Asia) but some of the places they hung out sounded similar. ...more
Apr 21, 2015 Josie rated it it was amazing
This book just made me want to go to Hanoi.

I feel Maguire's writing as been somewhat tamed in this, her fourth novel.

I enjoyed it, I enjoy her scene setting. You can picture the setting and the characters vividly.

Funnily enough, I saw this book in a shop over 8 months ago and wanted to buy it but found she has written other novels before it, so I sourced those and read them before this one.

Can't wait for her next book.
Mary Mckenna longford
I liked this book but I found Cal a completely implausible character for an 18 year old! Mischa was really irritating, trading off her "victim" status and taking advantage of a young person's vulnerability. She showed no empathy for anyone but herself. But we are all irritating so well done for the author. The portrayal of life in Vietnam was wonderful. this is my second Emily Maguire book and I enjoyed it, despite Cal's cliches.
Oct 10, 2014 Laurena rated it liked it
I started this book enjoying the descriptions of Hanoi and then was excited about the way it was heading. Unfortunately, while it was a good read, I think it fell short of its potential. The relationship of the two characters was without depth and a bit forced, and the ending was generally unsatisfying.
Andriana Koukari
Jan 04, 2016 Andriana Koukari rated it liked it
The first few pages of this book made me think I'd made a mistake in starting it. Characters are not drawn in any depth. But I was drawn in by the wonderful spare descriptions of Vietnam. Hanoi is the best drawn and explored character in the book. Made me wish I had succumbed to my desire to eat pho at a home roadside kitchen in Hanoi.
Mar 26, 2016 Kirsten rated it liked it
Maguire beautifully captures the spirit of Hanoi however I didn't buy the relationship between Misha and Cal and I found the other characters vapid. Although perhaps that was the point. I usually love Maguire's writing, Smoke in the Room was one of the most affecting novels I've read, but this falls short of its potential.
Helen Crozier
Oct 18, 2012 Helen Crozier rated it liked it
I found this interesting but I thought the conflict was exhausting. It also did remind me too much of Eat Pray Love which funnily enough received a mention in the novel. I am pleased I got to learn about Vietnam but did not enjoy any if the characters. Too grimy and self indulgent but probably quite realistic.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Yearning
  • Stella Makes Good
  • Animal People
  • Foal's Bread
  • The Mistake
  • Darkness on the Edge of Town
  • Golden Boys
  • Reclamation (Acclamation #2)
  • Sisters Of Mercy
  • Beautiful Losers
  • Heatstroke: The Extended Edition
  • Autumn Laing
  • Guns n' Boys: He Is Mine (Guns n' Boys, #2)
  • In the Company of Strangers
  • Mr Chen's Emporium
  • Black Glass
  • Naked
  • Floundering

Share This Book