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The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
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's review
Jun 14, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: audiobooks, scifi-fantasy-magicrealism
Read from June 14 to 21, 2011

Three intertwined stories run through this novel. The first is of Natalia, a physician in an unnamed Balkan country who has just lost her grandfather and is trying to learn more about his death while participating in a mission to vaccinate rural orphans. This storyline interested me least, probably because it seemed like little more than an excuse to tell the other two stories.

The other two stories were a little more engaging. One is of Natalia's grandfather's recurring encounters with "the deathless man," a man condemned to live forever. The other is of "the tiger's wife," a deaf-mute teen in Natalia's grandfather's childhood village, married to the abusive butcher and villified by the provincial villagers for her perceived Satanic relationship with a tiger who stalks the village.

I could see why someone might like this book. I agree with the reviewers who noted the beauty of the writing, and many of the narratives were engaging. At the same time, the characters left me cold -- they seemed like nothing more than products of their experiences as opposed to people with personalities I could connect with. Also, I'm just not a fan of magic realism.

Didn't love it, didn't hate it. Three stars.
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