Tiger Tiger

Tiger Tiger

3.5 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
By (author) 

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Product details

  • Hardback | 360 pages
  • 140 x 220mm
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0246124733
  • 9780246124739

Review Text

Imagine a neat, wry Somerset Maugham (or Paul Theroux) short-story stretched out to 400 pages with sentimentality, melodrama, and sheer padding - and you'll have a good idea of this thin, corny novel by the author of The Sins of Rachel Ellis (1978). Harry "Tiger" Sullivan, 67, is a retired British officer still living at a small Army outpost in 1960s Malaya; he pluckily ignores his heart condition, fondly recalls his long-dead wife, and instructs the locals on the right way to hunt a tiger. Then Harry's status quo is shaken up: the Army outpost is about to be shut down; a braggart Australian, handsome young Bob Beresford, arrives in town, determined to kill a tiger for the wrong reasons (glory, an Oedipus complex); and a local tiger starts killing cows, then native villagers. So foul Beresford, to Harry's disgust, goes after the killer-tiger in crude, bloodthirsty ways; he first kills the wrong tiger entirely; later, his stupidity results in the death of Harry's favorite native lad. And finally it's up to old Harry, of course, to stalk the wounded tiger and put it out of its misery - though the effort will finish him off and lead to a teary deathbed scene. (Beresford, meanwhile, is transformed by the experience - and winds up cured of his complexes, nobly marrying his pregnant native mistress.) Caveney surrounds the small central story here with soapy subplots: Harry's autumnal affair with a middle-aged newswoman; Beresford's deflowering of naive, romantic Melissa, daughter of Harry's best friend; the anthropomorphic doings of wounded Haji-the-tiger himself. But these digressions merely add bulk, not richness, to an anecdote-sized idea - while Caveney's simplistic psychology and cliched sentiments belabor it still further. For everything that's missing here, read Theroux's The Consul's File instead. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Rating details

8 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 62% (5)
3 25% (2)
2 12% (1)
1 0% (0)
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