Rob's Reviews > The Tiger's Wife

The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
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Mar 24, 2011

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bookshelves: audio-book, fiction, digital, own-it, unabridged, my-review
Read from April 21 to 30, 2011

  
     A Rich and Deep Tale 
  
A Tiger’s Wife is an eerie set of tales from the “old country”. The story is set in the Balkans. The book is a grouping of short stories connected together through the story’s narrator and her grandfather.
The Balkan region has experienced generations and centuries of war, death, misery, not-well-understood political shifts and trauma. Racism and genocide has been rampant. These old tales developed, I suspect, to explain the unexplainable and the terrible. They are rich in allegory. Obreht has performed a credible job in tying these legends to her creative story and weaving it, ever so delicately, into the realities and politics of the Balkan’s, past and near-present. She does it subtly and abstractly. The story is deeply symbolic. The symbols connected to hardships and qualities of people and the Balkans are wonderful. Obreht has created a story of the collisions of the realities of science with the fears, evils and uncertainties of life. She describes the desire to explain the unexplainable with facts and science. Yet she concludes that sometimes superstition, religion and spirituality can be the only place to receive answers, even when you cannot accept it. It is a story about how people cope when they are about to face the worst, the denials, the transference of fears and anxiety and yes the transference to hatred and harshness of the disadvantaged.
It is worth the effort to read this book. At times, it is an effort. While author is creative, I believe she will be published again; the book gets tedious and is flawed. I struggled to “hang-on”. It is worth the struggle because of the richness of the tale. All the same, the story is so deep it is tempting to skim through the highlights a second time; just to be sure all key points are picked up.
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