Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Tiger's Wife; Tea Obreht

Title: The Tiger's Wife
Author: Tea Obreht
Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Random House
Edition: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Date Completed: 3/1/2011
Setting: Balkans
Rating: 4/5 stars
Recommend: Yes

The Tiger's Wife is an unusual story. Set in the present day, somewhere in the Balkans, the story is part mystery, part mystical and steeped in superstition.  Natalia Stefanovi, is a young doctor, on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. She and a friend are busy treating sick children, as many as five to a bed, as well as vaccinating others who are seriously ill. Natalia learns that her beloved grandfather, a retired doctor himself,  had left home on a mysterious mission far from home, and had died alone in the town of Zdrekov. It was three days before family was notified, and no one knew what he was doing there when he died. Natalia was the only only who knew her grandfather had cancer, and she is determined to find out the truth about the last few days of her grandfather's life. Why did he tell his wife he was off to visit Natalia, and instead spent his last days at a run down locale no one had ever heard of?

While Natalia is trying to learn more, she recalls the times spent with her grandfather as a young girl, and the mysterious stories he shared with her. There is the "tiger" who escaped from a zoo during the war, and roamed the villages. The deaf-mute woman, said to be "the tiger's wife" who befriend the tiger, and the story of a deathless man named Gavo, who could predict the death of others, but refused to die himself.  Natalia also recalls the frequent trips to the zoo she would take with her grandfather, and the fact that he always carried a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, from which he read to her.

Secrets, superstition, war, and death or, references to death are abundant throughout this novel. The story flowed well, as the reader was transported back and forth in time. While I was able to appreciate the descriptive and haunting writing, this was not a quick and easy read for me. However, in the end, I was still glad I decided to take the time to finish this one.


  1. This sounds like the kind of book I have to be in the right mood to enjoy.

  2. This is the first review I've read of The Tiger's Wife. The premise sounds wonderful and I am glad that it turned out to be good. Thanks for the review! I am looking forward to reading the book.

  3. Sounds a bit involved but interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  4. The first time I have heard of this book. With some books you have to persevere to the end.

  5. I want to read this one so badly! It definitely sounds like it is not an easy read, but I am really excitedf or its release all the same.

  6. new follower! LOVE the sea theme!!

    check out my blog! http://lindsaycummingsblog.blogspot.com/

  7. Sounds intersting, if only to learn about the Balkan's and the mystical part of the book.

    Glad you enjoyed after finishing, something I read something and enjoy it so much more when I'm done reading. Interesting how that happens.

  8. Mystery, mystical, superstition...all words I enjoy in a review. I want to read this but I think I'm with Kathy that I would have to be in the right mood. Otherwise, I'm not sure I would fully appreciate it. I'm glad your review made me realize that or I might have ruined it for myself.

  9. You had me at 'mystical' and 'superstition', and then sealed it with 'descriptive' and 'haunting'. It sounds interesting, and wrth puting effort into.

  10. I think it was Book Page who recently played this one up. I guess it's a debut novel for the author??

    It doesn't really sound like my cup of tea but I've been trying to step outside of my box a bit. I feel sometimes that I am stuck in a reading rut.

  11. I'm glad that it paid off for you. I'm not sure I want to read it myself but I'm glad it was worth the effort you put in.

  12. This book sounds wonderful! I have heard a little about it. Looks like I should check it!

  13. new follower.This boook sounds so interesting.Please enter my name.lomazowr@gmail.com

  14. This book sounds powerful and unique. It doesn't sound like a quick read but one that requires you to be very focused when reading it. I have always admired Rudyard Kipling but never been that big a fan of The Jungle Book. I'm not sure this is a book that I'd really enjoy but your review intrigues me. I think I'll research The Tiger's Wife a bit and see what I think.

    Thanks Diane!
    ~ Amy

  15. I am really looking forward to this one. I have pre-ordered it on my Kindle and hope to start it tomorrow morning, bright and early! I'm glad to know it's not an easy read.

  16. My book group just chose this for our next book, and I'm looking forward to reading it. It sounds good!

    Thanks for the thorough review!


  17. I am glad to have found your blog and your review of this. I read about it last week and immediately added it to my TBR list. Thanks for the review!


  18. My copy just came in the mail! Super excited to read it :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  19. I've heard so much about this book. It's good to know beforehand that it is not an easy read - I'll make sure to save it for when I'm in the mood for something complex!

    Thanks for the review!

  20. This novel totally restored my faith in the power of contemporary literature. Great storytelling, expansive plot, wonderful language. I was totally swept away.


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