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The Tiger's Wife
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Book Discussions > The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht

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Gabriella I have only just started this book but I figure it would be nice to see if someone else is reading it and willing to discuss it with me.


message 2: by Glenn (last edited Jan 22, 2015 05:33PM) (new)

Glenn Russell Gabriella wrote: "I have only just started this book but I figure it would be nice to see if someone else is reading it and willing to discuss it with me."

Hi Gabriella! I started reading this novel and would love to discuss with you as I go along. Since your profile is set to private I don't know that much about your background but please take a look at my profile (and perhaps a review or two I wrote on the novels I've read).

Anyway, I will post starting tomorrow and should post several times a week and hope you do the same -- and, please, no question or observation is too small to discuss!


Gabriella I am glad someone is reading it too! I am originally from Italy and I am 35 years old but I live in the U.S.
I think the main character in the book is more or less my age. The reason I say that is because she was in high school during the Yugoslavian war (I am deducing that is the war that she is talking about even though she uses fictional names for places). The part in which she describes her teenage years while the war was going on really stroke a chord with me. While this horrible war was happening just a few hundred miles away from where I lived I was leading my normal teenage life. My dad was in the airforce at the time and as part of Nato Italy was part of the humanitarian effort to relief people in that war. He was in charge of sending airplanes with food and blankets and medicine to people in that war. One of the airplanes got shot by the bosnian and 4 of my father's coworkers and friends died. I was 13-14 and even though I knew all of this, somehow I removed it shortly after. When you are 14 you are very self centered and what "the boy you liked said about you" sounds as so much more important than a war going on in some other country. What impressed me in the book is that she described a similar feeling when she says that since the war started far from her city they didn't feel like it affected them in the beginning. I just felt a weird connection to these people who were my age, my generation, living so close to me and yet having such a different life.
I like how the back is not actually centered on the war, but at the same time the war is in everything. How it talks about the daily changes in their daily lives.

I also liked the fantasy element in the story. I don't want to spoil too much since i don't know how much you have read so far though, but the first fantastic story reminded me of something from another book I read: An uncertain place by Fred Vargas. I don't want to spoil too much for you though since I am not sure how much you read so far.

Anyway I will be posting more ( and I will be reading your profile too. I have accepted your friendship)


message 4: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Russell Gabriella wrote: "I am glad someone is reading it too! I am originally from Italy and I am 35 years old but I live in the U.S.
I think the main character in the book is more or less my age. The reason I say that i..."


Thanks so much for accepting my friend request and your thoughtful post here. I just did start read/listening to the audiobook. I'll post some of my reflections tomorrow morning.

Sounds like you do indeed have a special connection with this book. I'm sure I will learn a great deal from your insights! Thanks again and look forward to sharing.


message 5: by Glenn (last edited Jan 24, 2015 08:15AM) (new)

Glenn Russell I just did finish reading the first four pages and first chapter. Lush, compelling writing; we as readers are drawn in by all our senses –the young narrator conveys the sounds, smells, sights, feelings and even tastes of her world. What really strikes me is the inclusion of all the animals. Not only at the zoo but everywhere – I particularly enjoyed the talking parrot: “O! My God! Behold the wonderment!”; “O! Hear you thunder? Is that the earth a-shaking?” and, evidentially, even a prologue of an epic poem.

There really is such a strong connection between the narrator/doctor and her grandfather/doctor. And all those trips to the zoo! And The Jungle Book. And telling her stories so she can envision herself as part of a fairytale.

The communication between the narrator and her grandmother and other family members is strained, to say the least. Repeatedly being accused of not telling the truth – my goodness.


message 6: by Gabriella (last edited Jan 25, 2015 07:12PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gabriella The more I move forward with this book the more I like it. I like how the many different strands of the story are woven together, in a very seamless way that also combines the fantastical/legendary and the real. But what I think I enjoy the most is the feeling that if you could step back and look at this tapestry of stories from a little further you wouldn't get a picture of Natalia or of her grandfather but of a country, of its population, of an era. It seems like the author tries constantly to interweave something about the history of the place, the beliefs of the people, the shifts in attitude during this or that war, the way the larger historical facts influenced the lives of the different people. She never does it overtly, she does it subtly but constantly, constantly adding a new little strand, a new little detail that adds to the whole picture. I love that it's something not immediately apparent, but it seems more and more evident, at least to me, overtime. I will see if I still have this impression at the end of the book.


message 7: by Glenn (last edited Jan 26, 2015 01:19AM) (new)

Glenn Russell I read your post here a few times, Gabriella. That's very well stated and also beautifully stated.

I've read and listened to Chapter Two, Three and Four and each chapter expands the dimensions of time and space in incredible, even magical ways.

I must say I found the shift from the young narrator's 1st person voice to the 1st person voice of her grandfather stunning. I don't think I'll ever forget the grandfather retelling that tale of the deathless man. The magical realism was quite unexpected -- particularly after the narrator relayed her family's experience during the time 'there's a war going on'.

I listened to the tale of the deathless man at night, walking outside in the cold. I'll never forget Robin Sachs's voice or the two bullets in the back of the head or how the deathless man could remain underwater for hours.

Actually, the way the narrator describes the war reminded me in a way of The Ambassadors by Holbein, the way the skull representing death slants across the otherwise calm portrait.

Chapter Three and Four are also gripping. The father with his sick son digging for the bones of a cousin who put a curse on the entire family. And then the time shift -- the tiger in the village and the detail of the villager's characters and lives and the grandfather's (boy's) connection to the tiger.


Gabriella Glenn wrote: "I read your post here a few times, Gabriella. That's very well stated and also beautifully stated.

I've read and listened to Chapter Two, Three and Four and each chapter expands the dimensions ..."


I have been listening to the book as well and I agree with you that the grandfather's voice is beautiful and haunting and resonating. I wish I liked Natalia's voice as much.


message 9: by Glenn (last edited Jan 27, 2015 10:11PM) (new)

Glenn Russell I've read Chapter 5 and Chapter 6. What really strikes me is how Natalia's world, a world filled with villagers digging up bones of a dead relative to reverse his curse on the family and a monk called in to ward off the devil, is so similar to her Grandfather's village when he was a boy. Matter of fact, this novel reminds me a great deal of The Painted Bird written by Jerzy Kosinski about his boyhood tramas (he was continually accused of being a demonic Gypsy-Jew) in Eastern Europe during World War Two.

I took a Coursera philosophy course last year and a well-educated woman said how the people in her country (she lives in a large Eastern European city) think all the Buddhists are devil-worshippers.

I recall a historian saying how the medieval period in many respects extended well into the 19th century and in some parts of Europe still thrives. Perhaps he was thinking of this type of mind-set.

Anyway, the stories in the novel are well-written and I am still enjoying listening and reading, although, I must admit, my enjoyment has waned a bit.


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