Shelby Goerlitz's Reviews > The Tiger's Wife

The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
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M 50x66
's review
Apr 24, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: soul-crushers
Read from April 24 to May 14, 2012

This book was pretty "meh" for me. I like casual magic realism, and topically I'm very attracted to Borgesian tigers and folktales and eastern euro history. This should have connected with me but it didn't.

For starters, the narrative strategy didn't work for me -- tight first person that flipped around by way of storytelling. There was either not enough variation in the voice to convince me that these were separate narrators, or it didn't happen often enough for me to not get locked in. There certainly was no rhythm to the switches. And without a third-person frame (think: Scheherazade) it felt very lumpy and lost to me. And safe in the worst sense, timid. I'm so tired of poorly digested near-autobio -- arrrghh! I had to really squint to keep going.

Even more distracting was the over-writing, from the very first page! That last sentence of the first paragraph lost me and the book never won me back. No, we don't need the white coat and stethoscope to know what's going on.

Theoretically I'm OK with dance-of-the-seven-veils plot reveal, but like the overwritten prose, the story got over-told. Structurally this book was really a novella -- there are only a couple useful arcs here and they could have been much tighter.

So I vote 4 out of 10 on this one.

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