Regina Spiker's Reviews > The Tiger's Wife

The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
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's review
Apr 10, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: tigers, folklore, death, life, war, doctoring, balkans
Read in April, 2012

Read on my Kindle Fire, The Tiger's Wife is such a lovely story, set in the Balkans years after the war, with almost a ethereal, old world feel - Natalia Stefanovic, a young doctor, traveling across the border with a co-worker/doctor and meds to help an orphanage, has just found out that her beloved grandfather, also a doctor and her mentor, has died. As she tries to piece together the last moments of his life and deal with her grief, Natalia remembers all the stories her grandfather has passed on to her - mystical stories of his childhood in a lonely village outpost in the mountains where he met a tiger and the tiger's wife, stories of meeting Death's nephew - the Deathless Man - not once, but three times, stories that connected them and helped her understand why he carried The Jungle Book in his coat pocket and visited Shere Khan in the nearby zoo. Magical....

Several favorite quotes:
"He sat up, pushed his chair away from the table and rubbed his knees. 'When men die, they die in fear,' he said. 'They take everything they need from you, and as a doctor it is your job to give it, to comfort them, to hold their hand. But children die how they have been living--in hope. They don't know what's happening, so they expect nothing, they don't ask you to hold their hand--but you end up needing them to hold yours. With children, you're on your own. Do you understand?'"

“When your fight has purpose—to free you from something, to interfere on the behalf of an innocent—it has a hope of finality. When the fight is about unraveling—when it is about your name, the places to which your blood is anchored, the attachment of your name to some landmark or event—there is nothing but hate, and the long, slow progression of people who feed on it and are fed it, meticulously, by the ones who come before them. Then the fight is endless, and comes in waves and waves, but always retains its capacity to surprise those who hope against it.”

I love the connection between Natalia and her grandfather - I had a wonderful, loving relationship with my paternal grandfather and dearly miss him to this day...and I remember many of the stories he told me of his childhood years on the farm...

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