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Dancing with the Tiger

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  486 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
When 30-year-old Anna Ramsey learns that a meth-addicted looter has dug up what might be the funerary mask of Montezuma, she books the next flight to Oaxaca. Determined to redeem her father, a discredited art collector, and to one-up her unfaithful fiancé, a museum curator, Anna hurls herself headlong into Mexico’s underground art world. But others are chasing the treasure ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published July 12th 2016 by Marian Wood Books/Putnam (first published April 7th 2016)
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Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The cover on this book is gorgeous!

I will not rate the book as I didn't finish it. My reasons are noted below:

I know that this is a debut novel but there were just too many incorrect facts in this book that prevented me from finishing it. The mask of Montezuma could not have been found in Oaxaca as Montezuma was the reigning leader in the Aztec empire where Mexico City is now located.

I have many relatives in the
Erin Dunn
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads

I won a free copy of Dancing With The Tiger By: Lili Wright in a Goodreads giveaway, so thank you to Goodreads and Putnam Books!

When I first saw the summary for Dancing With The Tiger I was immediately intrigued by the Mexico setting and the colorful cover. I haven't read very many books set in Mexico. I am so glad that the setting was done well in this one. The writing throughout is so vivid and beautiful. I really enjoyed the writing style in general.
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Eh. I really liked the story idea but something fell flat in the execution. Too many characters to be invested, too many plot lines to keep my interest. I just wanted this to be over.
Ron Charles
Feb 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels-about-art
Shuffling quietly through the cool halls of any great museum, patrons have little sense of the moral quagmire that lies behind such collections. And who can blame them? Everything about the way invaluable artifacts are displayed — so immaculate in their glass cases — isolates these objects from the violence of acquisition.

But that dirty backstory is the heart of Lili Wright’s whirling debut novel, “Dancing With the Tiger.” A journalist and a professor at DePauw University, Wright captures the bl
Eva • All Books Considered
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, travel
Review originally posted at All Books Considered: 4.5 STARS

I will admit that I was initially drawn in by this cover! I love(d) the colors, the imagery and then I read the description and I NEEDED this book in my life. First, I love Mexico; I always have since visiting as a baby and then again in middle school, high school and college -- I've been to Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Baja, Quintana Roo including Tulum, Cancun and various other places along the border and the coasts. Second, I loved
Marija Milošević
Why was this book so long?
If I hadn't got in in a challenge, I would have never picked it up myself.
And even though I thought about DNFing it a few times, some parts were intriguing and eventually I made it through.
This, however, left no impression on me.
It is interesting, but I wasn't a fan of the writing style, nor could I find myself immensed in the story.
I'd recommend skipping this 450 page read.
Oct 30, 2016 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cover-lust
DNF @ 30%

This is a multi-narrative tale about a bunch of different people seeking out a newly rediscovered mask of Montezuma.

Try as I might, I just could not get into this story. For a month I found myself picking it up only to abandon it again after 5 pages or so. It just didn't grasp my attention and ultimately I've decided to put it aside. Sometimes certain stories just aren't for me.
Lupita Reads
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
I absolutely loved the book cover. The plot itself is interesting and at times even a page turner. However I did encounter parts of the novel that slowed it down tremendously. I also found myself questioning the use of so many Mexican dichos (sayings). I understand the need to make the book feel culturally relevant but in the end it made the novel unauthentic.
May 23, 2016 rated it liked it
This one is long but full of danger and adventure as several souls seek the death mask of Montezuma.
I learned about this book when I saw it on one of those lists of "books you should read this summer." I found the premise, involving looting of Aztec artifacts from Mexico and the dangerous and obsessive competition among collectors of those artifacts, to be intriguing, and I added it to my reading queue. Well, I didn't get around to reading it in the summer, but it turns out it is just as interesting in the autumn.

The book was a bit difficult to get into at first because the writer uses the dev
Branka Vujanic
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Wasn't really into it at the beginning but couldn't stop reading it later on as the things started getting more and more tangled and I was in need of all the answers that were at end of the book. I did really like the plot and the whole rush around the ancient mask but here's the thing: There were just too many characters involved. I mean, it kind of takes you some time to get used to all of them and just keep them all in your mind. At some points while reading, with that many characters, the pl ...more
Sam Sattler
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
Lili Wright’s Dancing with the Tiger is long on setting and atmosphere. Set in Mexico, the novel uses the country’s mean streets, its belief in mysticism, and the ease with which so many of the country’s archeological treasures are smuggled across its borders, to create a thriller in which American mask collectors, a Mexican drug lord, and those wanting to keep Mexico’s treasures out of the hands of private collectors or foreign museums, battle for what might just turn out to be Montezuma’s actu ...more
Viviane Crystal
Jul 17, 2016 rated it liked it
An addicted character named “Looter” finds an Aztec funeral mask and knows it’s very valuable. He, however, has no interest in its cultural or artistic value but instead sees it as a cash cow for his insatiable addiction. That mask is believed to be the funeral mask of Moctezuma II or Montezuma as he is more popularly known. Anna, a fact checker, is highly qualified as an art collector, having begun to learn this field at the knees of her father, a failed art collector. Both are humiliated at ha ...more
Charles Kerns
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
A cross between Eat, Pray, Love and Indiana Jones with a little Maltese Falcon to guide the way. But without affection for Oaxaca (where the book's action leads): “The taxi wove through the ugly outskirts of the city, past cement factories, tire shops, empty lots of scrap metal, Small fires burned in forlorn fields and barbecue pits. It seemed incredible the mecca for Mexican folk art lay inside this clot of debris. Oaxaca.”

The dash after Montezuma's priceless mask is run by a mix of art collec
Mar 11, 2017 rated it liked it
This could have been a beautiful novel. The setting (Mexico) is gorgeously used, the characters are well-developed and meaningful, and the plot is intriguing. It just really dragged, and could have (should have?) easily been 150 pages shorter.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Ugh! Hard to put down but also very frustrating to read. The main character was too dumb and unlikable, plot twists were predictable, and there were a lot of superfluous paragraphs, chapters, even. Could have been much shorter.
Meghan Wyrd
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book launch went great!!
Narrative Muse
– It takes two to be Dancing with the Tiger. –

I was utterly fascinated by Lili Wright’s (Learning to Float: The Journey of a Woman, a Dog, and Just Enough Men) somewhat fictional retelling of her time and career in Mexico. When I started Dancing with the Tiger, I had no particular interest in ancient Mayan artifacts or the artistic traditions of the Aztec community, but this story seemed to pull a new intrigue out of me.

Drugs, guns, and values also come into play in this tumultuous modern day no
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is a very mixed bag. Still not sure if the genre was primarily mystery, murder, magical realism or love story.
The imagery of the Mexican landscape and cityscapes is vivid, and the author obviously has an understanding of the characters and religious mythology of the area. But the many points of view of the narrators is confusing, the main voice being that of Anna Ramsey, daughter of an American collector of Mexican masks. She travels to Mexico when trying to restore the reputation of
Olivia Walters
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best fiction books I've read in a long time! I finished the 450 page book in about 3 days. I havent devoured a fiction book like that in a long time. I felt I was transported to Mexico while reading it. Great descriptive writing that (felt) authentic and historically accurate. I can't attest personally to whether or not that's true, but the authors credentials lend her credibility.Made the book longer than a lot of people would have liked, but it works for me. Loved the chara ...more
David Paul
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bracing plot: Wright presents her characters in punchy chapters of vivid prose. The viewpoint of storytelling shifts. This novel style escalated my intrigue, ramped up the action, and caused me to go to work sleepy as I stole hours to devour and turn pages.

Wright’s metaphors are wonderfully fresh: “Cement covered the looter’s calves, the white legs his mother had once scrubbed clean, the legs that wound around women as he kissed their necks.” “Men pursued her not because they liked her, but bec
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book centers on the collection and sale of archeological artifacts specifically of Mexican origin.
Ancient masks are the focal point and the holy grail of these is Montezuma's funerary mask. The main character (Anne) goes to Mexico to try to find these masks for her elderly father in the states. We meet a wide array of characters including a looter, an underworld lord and other shady people. This is a cut throat world and there is violence and murder. A crucial issue worth thinking about is
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Overall, kept me interested and wanting to read more, while Wright heightened the attention appropriately and revealed only what she had to to keep the story going. In that sense, this is amazing writing. Anna annoyed the heck out of me, and maybe she was supposed to, but I ended the book feeling like I still didn't understand who this woman was, what she wanted, or why she did what she did. If the point at the end was that she finally took off her mask, I didn't get that feeling from her action ...more
Margaret1358 Joyce
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This 453-page noir farce set in contemporary Oaxaca, Mexico, its theme being the joys ( or evils, depending on your ethics!) of the black market in antiquities--specifically, masks--is an interesting read. The writer has a stylistic flair for funny, dark scenes that highlight themes of sex, death and religion. The narrator is omniscient; serves up her own brand of magical realism; as such, the idea seems to be to show and to tell without asking any great investment on the part of the reader. So ...more
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Goodreads Giveaway - This was a very fun book to read. Like a combination of Jennifer Egan and Carl Hiaasen. The narrative is told from multiple perspectives; each chapter is told from a different character perspective. Some of the character's internal monologues lack distinctive voices, but that can be forgiven for the flow of the plot. You can definitely tell this was written by someone with a background in newspapers and/or reporting. Lili Wright will hopefully continue to be an active writer ...more
Tom Davis
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dancing with the Tiger is a very fast paced read that kept my attention from the beginning to the end. Lili Wright uses many points of view and primarily short chapters to keep the plot moving thru many twists and turns to an ultimately good conclusion, perhaps not the one you thought was coming. It's not trying for deep thought or deep meditations on the human condition, but primarily to keep moving along and entertain and it does that well enough to have received an Edgar Award nomination for ...more
Lisa Locke
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is great if you are looking for an adventurous read. Set in Mexico, a tweaked out looter, a drug lord, and American Art collectors are all searching for the Montezuma Death Mask worth millions of dollars. They all have their hands on it at various times, but is it the real thing or a fake? Are they willing to kill or die for it? A fun, but dark story told from various viewpoints, this book will be hard to put down.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it
2,5/5 : la plus jolie couverture du monde m'a séduite, mais j'ai été un peu déçue.

Une histoire avec beaucoup de potentiel finit par être légèrement gâchée par des péripéties un peu trop prévisibles ou mélodramatiques, des coïncidences à la pelle et des dialogues qui se veulent futés mais qui contiennent bien des clichés. "Do not lose yourself." (Dit le guide sexy à la touriste.) "I've been waiting to be found." Oh boy!
Chris Pavone
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
There's something about the combination of this title and this jacket design that make this novel seem like something other than what it is: a compelling, deftly constructed mystery set in Mexico, where I spent two months every single summer of the 1970s, when I was a kid (too strange and complicated to get into here; someday I'll write a book about it).
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was super slow to start. In the beginning, I was also disappointed by some of the anti-feminist themes. Thankfully I stuck around and gave the author a chance to show why she set the story up the way she did. Ultimately, it was supposed to be empowering, but it took nearly a hundred pages to get there. :) Eventually, I couldn't put it down!
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“She wore black, the color of nuns and witches, the color of the loneliest corners of outer space, where gravity prevents all light from escaping, the name given to boxes tucked into airplanes, the ones that explain the disaster.” 2 likes
“I've worn a mask most of my life. Most people do. As a little girl, I covered my face with my hands, figuring if I couldn't see my father, he couldn't see me. When this didn't work, I hid behind Halloween masks: clowns and witches and Ronald McDonald. Years later, when I went to Mexico, I understood just how far a mask can take you. In the dusty streets, villagers turned themselves into jaguars, hyenas, the devil himself. For year,s I thought wearing a mask was a way to start over, become someone new. Now I know better.” 1 likes
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