Fergie's Reviews > The Tiger's Wife

The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
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Apr 28, 2013

it was ok
Read in February, 2012

I'm probably one of the few people who didn't "get" this book. While I give credit to Tea Obreht for her ingenuity and creativity with the story, I felt at times frustrated by the pace of the the book and the way it wound through the fantastical tales which I found more distracting than entertaining or enlightening in its detour from the main story.
I kept wanting to care about the main character, Natalia, and the relationship she shared with her grandfather but felt Obreht kept me hanging and disappointed. It seems the book began with the promise that there would be resolution and understanding but the way Obreht went about it -- through outlandish stories told by the grandfather about other people, seemed, in the end, to me frustrating.
I kept wanting to like the book but never discovered the pull necessary to keep me wanting to read more. At times, I felt that I was reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez, another author who, like Obreht, does not write for readers like me. I'm sure there is a reason the book is so esteemed and widely read but, ultimately, I am comfortable saying that I didn't quite get the appeal.
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Reading Progress

02/19 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-41 of 41) (41 new)

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Cresta I am 1/2 way through this book and I, too, feel the pace is slow. I keep waiting for the moment where I just don't want to put it down, but alas - that moment has not come.


message 2: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily Just finished it this past weekend, and all I could think when I put it down was - WHAT WAS THAT?!


message 3: by Liz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Liz Bromley I agree completely.


message 4: by Rose (new) - rated it 1 star

Rose I echo everyone's sentiments. Although some of her writing was exquisite, it was far from a page-turner.


Shannon I am 70% through the book after about 3 false starts and I'm going to put it down for awhile. I agree with and appreciate your review. I'm in a constant state of confusion while waiting for the "magic" moments to happen. I'm not getting any. I'll finish but it will probably be awhile before I do.


Mary Johnson I made myself finish the book because it was our book club's selection. I would not recommend it; I can't figure out why it was a finalist for the National Book Award. I was hoping to learn more about the Balkan wars, but even that didn't happen. It wasn't the worst book I have ever read, but it came close.


Suzanne LaVenture I'm with you except for the fact that I like Garcia Marquez. This one left me scratching my head completely.


Ariel I am just not getting it either. Slugging along at page 200.


message 9: by Chris (new)

Chris Yea, I'm struggling to finish and am wondering why I should bother.


Heather I just finished this and I completely agree. Im very disappointed. Great writing but a complete lack of story. ,


message 11: by Karen (new) - rated it 1 star

Karen Ok, I am so glad to read everyone else's comments about this book because I was thinking it was just me who must have missed the whole string that held the plots together because I kept falling asleep while trying to get through the story and read a couple of pages at a time.
Thankfully its a library book. I'd feel bad passing it onto someone...


message 12: by Rose (new) - rated it 1 star

Rose Agreed, Karen. It was so painful to read.


message 13: by Judy (new)

Judy Fergie eloquently stated my view of this book. I probably didn't stay with it as long as the rest of you who have commented. There are just too many books I want to read to spend time struggling through one.


Tamara I totally agree with you...I'm halfway through and I just want to give up. It's awful...I will keep pushing on though.


Shannon I just finished. It took me several months to read. If I hadn't been reading it for my book group I would have given up long ago. I am not sure why this story has been such a hit. Maybe it's the first foray into fantasy for the majority of people reading? I have read so many excellent books but this wasn't one of them. It's great to know I'm not alone in my opinion.


message 16: by Donna (new) - rated it 1 star

Donna I couldn't finish the book. Had no idea what was going on!


Paige It's weird funny that you mention Gabriel Garcia Marquez, because I pretty much detest his work...but I loved this book! Heh.


message 18: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John I'm glad I'm not alone .... I find this book very tedious ... I'm not sure I understand all the praise that has been heaped on it. There are moments where it is interesting and enjoyable, but they are far and few between.


message 19: by Julia (new) - rated it 1 star

Julia I really like fantasy and did not care for this book! I don't know what this is, but I wouldn't call it fantasy. Magic realism, which is a similar though not the same genre.


message 20: by Pat (new) - rated it 1 star

Pat This book just didn't work for me at all. I also don't like Marquez or Allende so perhaps I'm consistent in not liking this one either.


Leslie I share your view. While realizing this is a fine work of fiction, I recognize I was not up to its challenge.


Nancy I feel like you wrote exactly what I was thinking! The outlandish stories were definitely distracting, and in the end, I felt like I didn't get any resolution.


Natalie It normally takes me a couple of days to zip through a book of this length, but I have been reading this one for several months and still not finished it. The writing is beautiful, but the bunny trails are so distracting that I continue to close the book!


Carole Harwell I agree with everything stated above about this book. I do not understand all the hyp over it. I normally finish a book once I have started it, especially when I've gotten half way through it, but I am finally quitting reading it. Glad I bought it at a book exchange and did not pay full price for it! I read for pleasure, and I have not found that in this tale of misery and woe. Pardon me, I must go find my antidepressant pills.


Leslie amen.


message 26: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Fernandez I agree. I struggled to get through this book, waiting for the moment when I could not put it down but that never happened. The ending was a waste, and overall the book was disappointing.


message 27: by Laura (new) - rated it 1 star

Laura Ellison I listened to it in audio book form and it was horrible. It is the first book I've ever listened to that has changed speakers for segments in the book. For the back flashes when the grandfather met and talked with the deathless man the voice switched from a typical female to a two-pack-a-day smoker male's voice which barely changed tone between characters. It was the most unenjoyable audio book experience and one of the most plotless books I have ever come across. I made it to disc 7 out of 9 and came across this post and convinced myself that since people thought the ending was just as bad as the rest of the book has been then I needed to save myself those 2 hours of listening and use them on something more enjoyable.


Corrie I also agree. I wanted to like this book but just couldn't


message 29: by Rebeccah (new)

Rebeccah SO glad I'm not alone. Agreed on Marquez - I can appreciate the writing but it is just not for me. Tiger's Wife is going to be shelved.


message 30: by Carole (new) - added it

Carole Doyle I could not get involved with this story, although I agree the writing is elegant.


Fergie If readers like my writing of this review, please consider checking-out my first novel, "The Sanctity Of Love And War". To preview the first chapter and to order the book: www.amymfergusonthesanctityofloveandw.... Your time reading it as well as positive reviews are much appreciated!


message 32: by Jan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jan I love Gabriel Garcia Marquez books and didn't get The Tiger's Wife. I know some people loved it. I am confused by that. Great title. Unique style. But I didn't feel like I knew Natalia. Her character and relationships were flat to me. Kept thinking I missed something.


Sharon I read the first 15 pages and was too apathetic and bored to go on. It was for a library book club meeting that I now will not be attending because I can't make myself read any more of this book. I even jumped ahead to a few random places in the middle and more toward the end and it was still dull. I can see that the story is exciting (or supposed to be) but the telling is not. "Flat" was the word that someone else used, and I agree. Her style is competent and her word choice good, even, but her writing is unmoving and uninvolving... to me, anyway, and obviously to many(!).


Mary Alice Alice You made it farther than me before I quit!


message 35: by Gina (new)

Gina I have to echo all of the previous comments. It's rare that I don't finish a book of this length in a couple of sittings. I kept waiting for it to suck me in, but after 2 months of trying to read it I'm only on page 250. I don't understand all of the hype on this one. I had to quit and move on to something else. A very disappointing read.


Brooke I'm reading it now and wondered if it was just me. Hard to follow (and I don't mind complex books). There are too many flashbacks inside of flashbacks and too few clues as to even who is telling the story at a given time or whether it is from the "present" or the past. I wish it would come together for me. I'm doggedly trying to finish it.


message 37: by Nicholas (new)

Nicholas Eskey Agree, agree, agree. I hate to say negatives about one's work, but to me I had to reread lines often to make sure on the particular topic that was being discussed. I kept reading because, well, I bought the book, so I was going to finish it. With it's habit of jumping layer after into other little stories, I got the distinct feeling I was in the movie "Inception."


Claire I just finished it, and I can say that I'm still confused as to what it was about!


message 39: by Kate (new) - rated it 1 star

Kate Durant so thankful i'm not the only one who feels this way.


message 40: by Ruth (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ruth Fergie, I feel exactly the same about this book!


message 41: by Kari (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kari I finished the book for a book club! I never would have if it weren't for the book club. I listened to the audiobook version. I'm quite certain that I don't really even know what the book is about!
The big pivotal scene at the end when she follows the guy into the house---don't know who he was and the importance of the scene. That's pretty bad, right? Maybe it was just me---but maybe not!


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