planetkimi's Reviews > The Tiger's Wife

The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
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Jan 16, 12

bookshelves: fiction, tournament-of-books-2012, magical-realism
Read in January, 2012

Natalia is a doctor, the granddaughter of a respected doctor. The Tiger’s Wife traces the story of her grandfather’s life as she puts together experiences she remembers, stories he told her, and information she was inspired to seek after his death.

The plot often involves the consequences of one war or another that has raged through a land that is an imaginary analogue of the Balkans.

As she navigates a post-war world without her grandfather, Natalia recalls the stories he’s told her about his life and becomes inspired to seek more information. She encounters superstition in the present just as her grandfather did at her age, and folklore is woven throughout the fabric of the novel.

The novel has a non-linear plot that often leaves connections unstated, things that tickle the edges of the reader’s mind and then snap into place as satisfying insights. The entire novel is framed by Natalia telling the story of herself and her grandfather.

Obreht’s characters are fantastically rendered. She is able to bring an entire lifetime of personality and motivations to life in a single chapter, and then integrate these focused chapters seamlessly through the main narrative. Some of these stories are quite haunting, and tend to linger in the mind like the spirits Natalia is told linger at crossroads.

The Tiger’s Wife is just the kind of book I enjoy, and I now consider myself a fan of Tea Obreht. I would love to know when her next book is released!
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