The Tiger's Wife

The Tiger's Wife

Book rating: 03 Paperback

By (author) Tea Obreht

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Product description

'Having sifted through everything I have heard about the tiger and his wife, I can tell you that this much is fact: in April of 1941, without declaration or warning, the German bombs started falling over the city and did not stop for three days. The tiger did not know that they were bombs...' A tiger escapes from the local zoo, padding through the ruined streets and onwards, to a ridge above the Balkan village of Galina. His nocturnal visits hold the villagers in a terrified thrall. But for one boy, the tiger is a thing of magic - Shere Khan awoken from the pages of The Jungle Book. Natalia is the granddaughter of that boy. Now a doctor, she is visiting orphanages after another war has devastated the Balkans. On this journey, she receives word of her beloved grandfather's death, far from their home, in circumstances shrouded in mystery. From fragments of stories her grandfather told her as a child, Natalia realises he may have died searching for 'the deathless man', a vagabond who was said to be immortal. Struggling to understand why a man of science would undertake such a quest, she stumbles upon a clue that will lead her to a tattered copy of The Jungle Book, and then to the extraordinary story of the tiger's wife.

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Author information

Tea Obreht was born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia, emigrating to the US in 1997. She was the youngest author on The New Yorker's Top 20 Writers under 40 List, and one of the youngest authors ever to be extracted in the magazine. Her short story, 'The Laugh', debuted in The Atlantic Fiction Issue and was then chosen for The Best American Short Stories 2010, while her short story, 'The Sentry' appeared in the Guardian Summer Fiction Issue alongside stories by Hilary Mantel and David Mitchell. She lives in New York.

Customer reviews

By Judith Riseley 13 Aug 2011 3

This book is beautifully written by a very talented young writer. I heard her reading the prologue at the Sydney Writers Festival and just had to buy the book. Whilst the writing was delicious the story itself was somewhat disjointed and uninteresting. A triumph of style over content. I look forward to more from this without as she matures.

By Penny Cunningham 09 Aug 2011 3

This is quite a strange book to describe, Natalia's grandfather has just died suddenly and she is remembering him. I found it quite disjointed a lot of the time, with the story jumping from Natalias journeys through an imagined place in the Balkans on a medical relief team vaccinating children in orphanages, to tales that her grandfather used to tell her when she was a child.
The writing is very good with lovely descriptions of people and places and I really enjoyed the tales of " The Deathless man" and "Darisa the bear", hunting for the Tiger, but it wasn't a book I could say I really understood! I think it is a story that would really need to be read a time or two to realise the symbolism that I think is there, but that I haven't understood yet!

Review quote

A wonderful, really remarkable novel...fascinating, unusual, original -- Erica Wagner on WOMAN'S HOUR, RADIO 4 A magical, distinctive tale. -- Emma Lee-Potter DAILY EXPRESS As enchanting as it is surprising ... Obreht's prose style is full-bodied and vibrant, and she conjures brilliant images on every page. -- Edmund Gordon SUNDAY TIMES War and its legacy ricochets through Obreht's kaleidoscopic dance of myth, folk memory and interrelated stories ... dizzying and ambitious LONDON METRO a stunning tale with the mythic quality of a fairy story TIMES Mysterious and funny SUNDAY HERALD A distinctive, magical tale DAILY EXPRESS