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The Tiger's Wife
The Tiger's Wife
Author: Tea Obreht
A novel of surpassing beauty, exquisitely wrought and magical. Tea Obrect is a towering new talent.
ISBN-13: 9781617931406
ISBN-10: 1617931403
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 338
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.

3.1 stars, based on 10 ratings
Publisher: Random House
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 1
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Tiger's Wife on + 1180 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
When I finished The Tiger's Wife by Tia Obrecht, I realized that the read was not the one I expected. It's a gentle read about memories, death, and the future. Natalia loves her grandfather dearly. He taught her so much about life and people that when he dies she begins to recall the many incidents that marked his life and hers. She was the only one he told he was so ill. He was her mentor so she, too, became a doctor. One of the stories that is so memorable for the reader are those of the tiger's wife, a deaf-mute woman whose very existence evokes superstition among the village people. The other is that of the mora or deathless man whose encounter highlight her grandfather's life and whom, she, too, gets to meet. The tiger is a thread that winds throughout the book because of her grandfather's love of tigers. If you expected an adventure tale skip this one but if you want one to read, muse about life and death and the tales therein this is a read for yo
reviewed The Tiger's Wife on + 49 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
I looked forward to this book after seeing it on the NYT bestseller list for so long. I was disappointed, and felt the book was boring. I had a hard time getting into it, but kept reading until halfway through, and gave up. There is mostly narrative, little dialogue and a story line that I thought hard to follow at times. I also felt the plot and characters were not believable. It is very rare that I leave a book unfinished, even if it is not exactly one I like. But this one was a "tough go" for me, and I sent up the white flag at the halfway mark. It is a mystery to me how it got to the bestseller status, and even more, has stayed there so long.
BigGreenChair avatar reviewed The Tiger's Wife on + 375 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
While I tried very hard to see the 'stunning, richly textured and searing novel' the cover said it would be, like a lot of others...it just didn't do anything for me. I began to wonder how someone could possibly describe it as stunning and searing. It plods along and manages to confuse you the entire way.
reviewed The Tiger's Wife on + 75 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
The book is very well written (which I always love) but the story is like a strung together, and somewhat misjointed, series of village myths. I had a hard time relating to any character or any story line.
c-squared avatar reviewed The Tiger's Wife on + 181 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
My favorite parts of this novel were the fantastical stories at its core: The Tiger's Wife and The Deathless Man. These stories were told to Natalia, a young doctor in an unnamed Balkan country, by her grandfather. Wrapped around these two stories was Natalia's own story: that of a generation warped by war, of her journey to becoming a doctor like her grandfather, of her mission to inoculate orphans in a neighboring country, and the loss of her grandfather while on this trip.

Although Natalia is the narrator, and I'm sure this part of the story is closest to Obreht's own experiences, I just didn't connect with her story as much as I did the more distanced tales. The stories pieced together from what her grandfather told her and what she was able to glean from the remaining inhabitants of his childhood village were fascinating. I would have been happy to read an entire novel just consisting of those stories (which would have been a 4 or 5 star novel for me), but that's not the bigger story Obreht wanted to tell. I like what she's trying to do -- the layering, the interconnectedness of the stories -- but it didn't quite work for me.

I found it really difficult to keep track of all the characters in the various stories, so when some of the stories began to overlap, it took me a while to figure out the connections. (Or maybe I'm just slow.)
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sawcat avatar reviewed The Tiger's Wife on
I had a bit of trouble getting into this novel. I liked her writing style, but not necessarily the "plot". I use the quotes because it is no means a straight forward plot as the blurb might lead you to think. Natalia is on a medical run to an orphange when she learns that her grandfather died, supposedly on his way to meet her. Interspersed between the present day accounts of the aid trip and recovering her grandfather's belongings, she tells the readers various stories. Growing up during the civil war. A tiger escaping the City Zoo during World War II, who made its way to the village Natalia's grandfather grew up in and met the woman who would be known as the Tiger's Wife. Her grandfather's repeated encounters with the deathless man.

I didn't find these stories terribly interesting at first (probably due to my lack of interest in contemporary set novels), but then a quote on the back of the book caught my eye. This quote from the Washington Post reviewer mentioned magical realism in the novel, and that gave me a bit of an 'A-ha!' moment. Once as I started to think of it more like a magical realism novel, I enjoyed the story a little bit better. Don't expect to find the kind of magical realism in this like in an Alice Hoffman novel, or in a Sarah Addison Allen novel. Only really one of the story lines can really be said to have magical elements to it. But its not a strong enough magical element to balance out my feelings towards contemporary set novels.

Being a contemporary novel aside, one thing that didn't work for me was all of the stories feel disjointed. The Red Garden is made up of a collection of stories centered around the garden. The stories in The Tiger's Wife either happened to or had a minor involvement of Natalia's grandfather. It was rather like when my grandmother starts telling stories from her youth- they could include her, ones she saw or ones she was told, but they bounce around at will, drop off at any time, and she picks them back up later. The stories might be interesting, but they kind of lose me being broken up so much.

I would definitely try more from Obreht, especially if she ventures into the historic period.
23dollars avatar reviewed The Tiger's Wife on + 432 more book reviews
This was the July 2012 pick in my neighborhood book club. It's not my cuppa.

The story opens with the death of Natalia's grandfather, with whom she had a complex relationship. Her interactions with her grandmother in the earliest scenes are emotion-rich and feel heavy with backstory, as there are apparently many things Natalia knows about her grandpa that his wife doesn't....but the book doesn't go down that path.

While journeying with a friend to deliver medicine in war-torn Serbia, Natalia begins taking the reader through the stories that shaped her grandfather's life, which he had shared with her. His experience as a younger doctor with a deathless man, and also the story of the tiger's wife. For pages and pages, we follow a tiger roaming the streets....if there is allegorical substance here, it is completely lost on me.

There was nothing here that held my interest and I had to give up after 100 or so pages. Perhaps if this were the only book I owned, I'd make myself read more, but considering there are over 200 books waiting TBR in my pile, life is just too short to be bored to sleep.

If you like engaging writing, slow pace notwithstanding, just skip this one.


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