The Tiger's Wife

The Tiger's Wife

3.42 (99,461 ratings by Goodreads)
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A spellbinding journey through the troubled history and colourful folklore of the Balkans, from the youngest ever winner of the Orange Prize.

'Beautifully executed, haunting and lyrical' Independent

'A delightful work, as enchanting as it is surprising' Sunday Times

'Assured, eloquent and not easily forgotten' Independent on Sunday

Natalia is on a quest: to discover the truth about her beloved grandfather. He has died far from home, in circumstances shrouded in mystery.

Recalling stories her grandfather told her as a child, Natalia suspects he may have died trying to unravel two mysteries. One was the fate of a tiger which escaped during German bombing raids in 1941; the other a man who claimed to be immortal. But, as Natalia learns, there are no simple truths or easy answers in this landscape echoing with myths but still scarred by war.

'Spellbinding' Marie Claire

'Striking, affecting and ingenious' Scotsman

'A poignant, seductive novel' Observer

'The most thrilling discovery in years' Colum McCann

'A book you will want to read again and again' Independent

'Varied, poignant and beguilingly fantastical' Time Out

'Obeht has a vibrant, rangy, full-bodied prose style, which moved expertly between realistic and mythic modes of storytelling, conjuring brilliant images on every page' Sunday Times

'One of the most extraordianry debuts of recent memory . . . gorgeous' Vogue
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 132 x 196 x 23mm | 244g
  • Weidenfeld & Nicolson
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0753827409
  • 9780753827406
  • 7,157

Review Text

Obreht's novel is that rarity: a debut that arrives fully formed, super smart but wearing its learning lightly. Above all The Tiger's Wife bristles with confidence Adrian Turpin Financial Times
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Review quote

Obreht's novel is that rarity: a debut that arrives fully formed, super smart but wearing its learning lightly. Above all The Tiger's Wife bristles with confidence -- Adrian Turpin * Financial Times * The brilliant black comedy and matryoshka-style narrative are among the novel's great joys...Obreht has prodigious talent for storytelling and imagery * Guardian * Beautifully executed, haunting and lyrical, The Tiger's Wife is an ambitious novel that succeeds on all counts. It's a book you will want to read again and again * Indpendent * Obreht's landscape hovers half in and half out of fable - where villagers who daily risk being hoisted by landmines also fear malign spirits, tigers' brides and men who transform into bears... It's a part of the world that Obreht has made her imagination's own: raucous and strange and gorgeous and rather haunting. This is a pretty formidable first novel. Here be tigers -- Sam Leith * Financial Times * She is a natural born storyteller and this is a startlingly suggestive novel about the dying out of myths and superstitions and rituals that bind people to place: the retreat of the spirits * Daily Telegraph * This is a distinguished work by almost any standard, and a genuinely exciting debut... Obreht has a vibrant, rangy, full-bodied prose style, which moves expertly between realistic and mythic modes of storytelling, conjuring brilliant images on every page... a delightful work, as enchanting as it is surprising, and Obreht is a compelling new voice * Sunday Times * The Tiger's Wife has been touted as one of 2011's outstanding debuts and it deserves its reputation...Weaving together fantastical tales and folklore with realism about coming to terms with loss and grief, it is also a book about the secrets people keep. This layering of stories creates a book rich in textures. Combining a mystery narrative, a family narrative and a book about the worlds of the imagination, Tea Obreht's novel is one that allows the reader to get lost in them * Metro * The Tiger's Wife, is assured, eloquent and not easily forgotten...war is just a backdrop, religions barely identified. It is the tiger, the deathless man, and the inquisitive doctor who lead the story through its layers of modern-day reality, magical realism, and folklore...her pacing in the book is delicious - Obreht has the storyteller's gift for suspense, and holds back details until the reader can wait no more...she has lived up to the early hype * Independent on Sunday * Natalia, a young doctor, is on her way to deliver aid to a remote orphanage when she discovers her beloved grandfather is dead. As she tries to reconstruct her grandfather's last journey, she recalls his stories, which combine folklore and mystery with his exquisite humanity. Set in a Balkan country adjusting to life after the war, the book resonates with the aftershocks of conflict, old enmities, fatalism and superstition. Haunting, thoughtful and beautifully atmospheric * Psychologies * Varied, poignant and beguilingly fantastical...The Tiger's Wife is an exciting, fast-paced and mystical novel that'll have you rushing to the end * Time Out * Spellbinding... Tea Obreht's debut has the fantastical allure of a folk fable * Marie Claire * This astounding debut novel about the former Yugoslavia in wartime is so rich with themes of love, legends and mortality that every novel that comes after it this year is in peril of falling short in comparison with its uncanny beauty...Not since Zadie Smith has a young writer arrived with such power and grace * Time * Tea Obreht's stunning debut novel, The Tiger's Wife, is a hugely ambitious, audaciously written work that provides an indelible picture of life in an unnamed Balkan country still reeling from the fallout of civil war... Ms. Obreht, who was born in the former Yugoslavia and is, astonishingly, only 25, writes with remarkable authority and eloquence... Ms. Obreht has not only made a precocious debut, but she has also written a richly textured and searing novel * New York Times * Tea Obreht is an extraordinarily talented writer...brings to mind the novels of Mikhail Bulgakov...[a] truly marvellous and memorable first novel * New York Review of Books * Tea Obreht's The Tiger's Wife comes freighted with more critical anticipation than any debut novel in recent memory...That sort of unearned, pre-emptive prestige spurs both impossible expectations and skeptical readings - a burden that would doom most first novels. Yet The Tiger's Wife, in its solemn beauty and unerring execution, fully justifies the accolades that Ms. Obreht's short fiction inspired. She has a talent for subtle plotting that eludes most writers twice her age, and her descriptive powers suggest a kind of channeled genius. No novel this year has seemed more likely to disappoint; no novel has been more satisfying * Wall Street Journal * Tea Obreht's swirling first novel, The Tiger's Wife, draws us beneath the clotted tragedies in the Balkans to deliver the kind of truth that histories can't touch. Born in Belgrade in 1985 - no, that's not a typo - she captures the thirst for consecration that a century of war has left in that bloody part of the world. It's a novel of enormous ambitions that manages in its modest length to contain the conflicts between Christians and Muslims, Turks and Ottomans, science and superstition... Well-deserved praise has been accumulating ever since Obreht published a chapter in the New Yorker almost two years ago, and now that we have the whole, its graceful commingling of contemporary realism and village legend seems even more absorbing * Washington Post * Astonishingly assured...full of vivid, dreamlike sequence...Obreht's mesmerizing writing is key to the novel, which succeeds through a kind of harmonic resonance...Obreht's striking ability to explain the world through stories is matched by her patience with the parts of life - and death - that endlessly confound us * Boston Globe * Deftly walks the line between the realistic and the fantastical . . . In Obreht's expert hands, the novel's mythology, while rooted in a foreign world, comes to seem somehow familiar, like the dark fairy tales of our own youth, the kind that spooked us into reading them again and again . . . [Reveals] oddly comforting truths about death, belief in the impossible, and the art of letting go * O: The Oprah Magazine * 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 *
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About Tea Obreht

Tea Obreht is the author of THE TIGER'S WIFE, winner of the Orange Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award.
She was born in Belgrade, in the former Yugoslavia, in 1985 and has lived in the United States since the age of twelve.
She currently lives in New York City and teaches at Hunter College.
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Rating details

99,461 ratings
3.42 out of 5 stars
5 17% (17,044)
4 32% (32,075)
3 31% (31,066)
2 14% (13,684)
1 6% (5,592)

Our customer reviews

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 more
by Judith Riseley
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!show more
by Penny Cunningham
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