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The Tiger's Wife

A Novel

Obreht, Téa

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Tiger's Wife
Print
Remembering childhood stories her grandfather once told her, young physician Natalia becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for "the deathless man," a vagabond who claimed to be immortal. As Natalia struggles to understand why her grandfather, a deeply rational man would go on such a farfetched journey, she stumbles across a clue that leads her to the extraordinary story of the tiger's wife.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385343831
0385343833
Branch Call Number: FICTION OBREHT 2011
Characteristics: 337 p. ;,22 cm

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Struggling to understand why her beloved grandfather left his family to die alone in a field hospital far from home, a young doctor in a war-torn Balkan country takes over her grandfather's search for a mythical ageless vagabond while referring to a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle... Read More »

Remembering childhood stories her grandfather once told her, young physician Natalia becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for "the deathless man," a vagabond who claimed to be immortal. As Natalia struggles to understand why her grandfather, a deeply rational man woul... Read More »

Complex, with stories within stories, shifting between fable and the aftermath of all-too-real modern war.

Struggling to understand why her beloved grandfather left his family to die alone in a field hospital far from home, a young doctor in a war-torn Balkan country takes over her grandfather's search for a mythical ageless vagabond while referring to a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle... Read More »

Struggling to understand why her beloved grandfather left his family to die alone in a field hospital far from home, a young doctor in a war-torn Balkan country takes over her grandfather's search for a mythical ageless vagabond while referring to a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle... Read More »


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Dec 16, 2014
  • KindianaJones rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

By complete coincidence (if you believe in such a thing) I ended up reading this book and Alexi Zentner's Touch at the same time. Both are family stories in which a younger narrator reflects on his grandfather's life stories; both are very strongly evocative of a certain place and time and both are interwoven with myth and folklore. I had no idea when I picked both books up a) how similar they'd turn out to be and b) that Tea Obreht and Alexi Zentner are best friends. Both books are wonderful and well worth a read; I couldn't say one is stronger than the other, or more memorable, but I will say that The Tiger's Wife was more suspenseful. (Though I wish she would've called Belgrade by its name instead of "The City".)

Oct 21, 2014
  • LPL_ShirleyB rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I was compelled to buy this book after reading the recommendation from Kelly at the Raven Bookstore!

Sep 20, 2014
  • Sanrin rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I was excited to read a novel based in the Balkans (an unnamed country), and it had won several prestigious awards. The beginning was strong. I enjoyed the stories of the past, depicting village life and especially of musicians and of those who are disabled, and of the present, showing how different generations respond to on-going war.
The ending started to fall apart, though. It felt as though the poetic and magical-realism writing style had overpowered the plot. There were too many colorful characters introduced in the last fifth of the book whose entire biographies had to be recounted. And the ending -- I still did not understand why the grandfather left to die alone, or the deathless man, or ... a bit frustrating.
But this is a talented author and a new voice. I look forward to reading future works by her, and to learning more about this area of the world through her writing.

Sep 17, 2014
  • vesnamarjanovic rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is excellent book which will introduce you to Balkan countries, present, past legends and connection to rest of the world. I personally admire young author and her poetic description of animals. I am also very found of her relationship with her grandfather, her recall of childhood and stories, his stories and her stories she grow up with and how language generally reflect our life, job, politics, nations.

Jul 09, 2014
  • sddepaul rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

I wanted to stop reading around page 100, but read the reviews and made it through this book which had its moments...but it never really came together for me.

Jul 09, 2014
  • MsNavillus rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The integration of the parallel story-lines is not seamless, but I found this to be a compelling and enjoyable read. This book made me want to learn more about the history of this part of the world. I was much more intrigued by the stories from the past than the present-day narrative, though I can see that each is essential to the completeness of the book.

Feb 13, 2014
  • PRMorris rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

This was one of the Blind Date with a Book books. I thought the Grandfather's stories were more interesting than the modern day stories and the ending was weak. I have a feeling that I don't know enough about Balkan history or mythology to enjoy this book fully.

Jan 11, 2014
  • JackieFC13 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

My friend Caroline picked this book to kick off our book club this year. I have always wanted to read it, saw it in all the major book stores, on all the big lists of the books you must read and its just a neat cover. It took me a little while to get into the book as I really didn't understand what it was about but what hooked me was her writing. Her imagery and writing style is just beautiful. I will definitely be reading another one of her books based just on that.

My favorite parts of the book were the stories of The Deathless Man. Throughout the book you learn about her grandfather, his childhood, his life and his experiences through the stories that he told her as she was growing up. It was very touching to learn how much she loved her grandfather and what an impact he had on her life.

What bothered me most about this book was that the tiger had no point, there was no reason for the tiger or the tiger's wife other than they had never seen a tiger before in her grandfather's village. This was a dark book and at some points violent. It was extremely interesting to read, I enjoyed it and will recommend it to others.

Oct 08, 2013
  • jshaddy rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed being in the middle of this story, all the richness from the different time points and reading the grandfather's tales, I also liked the author's writing style and how things unfolded, but for me there wasn't the depth of meaning that other people seemed to find in this book.

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Nov 05, 2011
  • ndp21f rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

It took him a long time to ask, “Been around children much?” He wasn’t looking at me, so he didn’t see me shrug. After a while, I shrugged again, tapped my book with a pencil. Eventually, I asked: “Why?” He sat up, pushed his chair away from the table and rubbed his knees. “When men die, they die in fear,” he said. “They take everything they need from you, and as a doctor it is your job to give it, to comfort them, to hold their hand. But children die how they have been living—in hope. They don’t know what’s happening, so they expect nothing, they don’t ask you to hold their hand—but you end up needing them to hold yours. With children, you’re on your own. Do you understand?

May 07, 2011
  • DesPlainesReaders rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“These stories run like secret rivers through all the other stories”

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May 07, 2011
  • DesPlainesReaders rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Amid the war-scarred landscape of a fictionalized Balkan country, a young doctor, Natalia, faces superstition and secrecy on a humanitarian trip to an orphanage across the border. At the same time, she searches for the truth of her grandfather's mysterious final days and his solitary death in a small country village. In Eastern Orthodox tradition, we learn, “the forty days of the soul begin on the morning after death.” During that time, it will “make its way to the places of its past.” Natalia must return home with her grandfather's personal effects before those forty days pass so that his soul can find its way. Des Plaines Readers' Services/Ms_Fitz

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