30 Mar 2012

THE TIGER'S WIFE.

THE TIGER'S WIFE by TEA OBREHT.


My grandfather never refers to the tiger's wife by name. His arm is around me and my feet are on the handrail, and my grandfather might say, 'I once knew a girl who loved tigers so much she almost became one herself.' Because I am little, and my love of tigers comes directly from him, I believe he is talking about me, offering me a fairy tale in which I can imagine myself - and will, for years and years.
.......... Outer back cover.


FIRST SENTENCE (Prologue): In my earliest memory, my grandfather is bald as a stone and he takes me to see the tigers.


MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 243): Back and forth he went through the house, latching and unlatching windows with useless determination, expecting at any moment, to look inside the oven and find Death squatting in it - a man, just a man, a patient-looking winged man with the unmoving eyes of a thief.


MY THOUGHTS: The winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011. Oh dear, I generally don't fair too well with prize winning/nominated books as I generally end up disappointed, finding that all too often the book does not live up to all the hype. Still, my last read, LYRICS ALLEY, was nominated for an Orange Prize, and I enjoyed that.


A wonderful, magical story, I loved the way the author managed to combine folk tales alongside vivid descriptions of a country ravaged by war - quite which country (Croatia? Bosnia?) is not made clear but then I think the author was merely trying to pin-point the horrors of war in general without necessarily mentioning any one country, any one war in particular.


Though mainly dedicated to the story of Natalia and her quest to bring medical care to a rural orphanage, it is  Natalia's grandfather's stories that brought the novel alive for me. Poignant and quite beautiful, it is his recollections of the 'Tiger's Wife' along with 'Deathless Man' that kept me reading well into the wee small hours.


A great debut novel from a young author, this is a book all about conflict (much of it religious), ignorance and fear of the unknown but most of all it is a novel about superstitions in general and the superstitions surrounding death in particular. 


Highly recommended, it isn't very often that a book moves me to tears but the last paragraph is one of the most beautiful book endings I have ever read.


KEEP IT OR NOT?: A readers group read, though I enjoyed this I will not be buying a copy of my own.

14 comments:

Mary (Bookfan) said...

Wow, I've read reviews of this book over the past several months but yours is the first that made me want to read it!

Patti said...

Sounds like an interesting read. For some reason I had this book confused with something else. Too many books with Tiger in the title.

Vivienne said...

I want to read it too now! Lovely review Tracy.

Kelly said...

Like you, I'm often disappointed in books that are hyped. I can't decided whether this one sounds good to me or not. The blurb doesn't really interest me, but your review part does. I'm intrigued about the ending, too.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I'm like you... not all award winners become winners with me. :)

I need to read it just for that ending. I've been curious about this one, but like you... I had avoided it because of the high praise. :)

Suko said...

Wonderful review (again!), and now I want to read it as well.

The Golden Eagle said...

I remember watching an interview of the author, but I never read the book since I didn't know much about it. Thanks for the review! :)

John McElveen said...

I LOVE the memorable moment!! Death squatting in it!!! Like in hell....cool!

J

Kalyan said...

lovely reading this review...nicely done!

naida said...

Your review makes me want to read this one, it sounds great.

Jenners said...

Your review encourages me to give this one a try. I've heard about it all over the place but it seemed like it might be too "hard" of a read (those prize winners, you know?)

BookQuoter said...

I have been on the waiting list from our library for this book for the past 3 months. Seems like it's worth waiting for. Glad you liked it.

Claudine G. said...

I'll see if this book is available from my library. That 'Deathless Man' bit was very interesting. And sad. These days, I'm rather picky about the books I buy, too, since there are so many books out there. But if I adore this, I'd love to put it on my real bookshelf! Thanks for this recommendation.

Jinky said...

I love moving books! Sounds like my kind of read. I'll put it on my tbr. Thanks! :)