The Tiger's Wife

The Tiger's Wife

by Téa Obreht
3.4 427

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Overview

The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Wall Street Journal • O: The Oprah Magazine • The Economist • Vogue • Slate • Chicago Tribune • The Seattle Times • Dayton Daily News • Publishers Weekly • Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considered
 
SELECTED ONE OF THE TOP 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times • Entertainment Weekly • The Christian Science Monitor • The Kansas City Star • Library Journal

In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780297859017
Publisher: George Weidenfeld & Nicholson
Publication date: 03/28/2011

About the Author

Téa Obreht was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia in 1985 and has lived in the United States since the age of twelve. Her writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The Guardian, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She has been named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty and included in the National Book Foundation’s list of 5 Under 35. Téa Obreht lives in New York.

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The Tiger's Wife 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 427 reviews.
hls1966 More than 1 year ago
This masterwork of modern literature is appreciated by readers who can enjoy a story told from many perspectives, blending modern-day narrative with flashbacks by both the narrator and her recently-deceased grandfather, with forays into folk tale and myth. By the end, all the threads are woven into an exotic tapestry where the present is enriched by the past. While many mysteries are solved, some are deliberately and deliciously left unexplained for the reader to chew on. I look forward to more by this author. Readers who find it difficult and boring should fault themselves, not the writing. Go back to the shallow end, and don't complain that the water is too deep when you simply haven't learned to swim. And if you don't understand that metaphor, get out of the pool!
1DANA3 More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written, haunting, sometimes eerie, the stories mix myth with reality. The narrator, Natalia, is a young doctor. While on her way to vaccinate some children in an orphanage across the border, she learns that her doctor grandfather has left home on a mysterious errand and died not far from where she is headed. His body has been shipped back, but she sets out to recover his possessions and, more importantly, discover why he died so far from home. The stories are connected by common themes of mutilation and death, laying spirits to rest, and bringing the bodies home. The journey through these tales are more important than the final destination. Stories and their importance in our lives, how myth, legend and superstition shape and mold our lives are themes that run throughout the story. Interesting and intriguing read.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
The Tiger's Wife is the story of Natalie, a young doctor in the Balkans, who has been raised in awe of her brilliant grandfather. As she was growing up he would often take her to the zoo to visit the tigers. Much later she is traveling across a war torn region to bring vaccinations to an orphanage when she learns that her grandfather has died under strange circumstances. When she begins to investigate improbable and magical stories of the tiger's wife and the deathless man begin to surface. The Tiger's Wife is a beautiful and highly unique story told in an entirely fresh style. The tone of magical realism lurking beneath the surface of Natalia's grandfather's practical life is always perfectly balanced, just enough that you can't ignore it, but never enough to sound implausible. Natalia herself can't quite believe or disbelieve and all the while the tiger is there, a shadowy presence in every dark corner. The setting of the exotic and unknown Balkans just adds to the mystery even more. I truly enjoyed this fantastical book. It is not often that you come across such an original voice as Tea Obreht's and I look forwarding to reading more.
cripbook More than 1 year ago
This is a superb piece of literature. Exquisitely written, and built around astounding story-telling. It adds richness to all we know about growing up, families, community life, literature in life, vocation, culture. About life and about death.
rab650r More than 1 year ago
This book is extremely well written and the author makes great use of descriptive language. However, if you like the kind of story where the characters develop, or where there is a plot, or where, um, I don't know, things happen, then this will not be the book for you. The blend of present events and old stories from the protagonist's grandfather would work if the author didn't layer double or even triple flashbacks to develop largely irrelevant details about tertiary characters. I would also complain about the total lack of any climax or resolution, but there is nothing going on in the book that could climax or resolve. The only reason I bothered to finish this book is because I refused to pay $15 and not do so. The author is a gifted writer but a poor storyteller, and I did not find this book enjoyable at all.
lit-in-the-last-frontier More than 1 year ago
THE TIGER'S WIFE by Téa Obreht ????? Unbelievably good first novel! Ms. Obreht is going to be fun to watch over the coming years. Initially, I turned down an advanced reader copy of this one because the plot sounded a little chaotic to me. A reading friend gave it five stars and a glowing review; we don't always agree over books, but her review made me give it another look. Thank you, Susan! I couldn't agree more! Generally, I synopsize my reads in a couple of quick sentences, but there are so many layers to this plot that I am cheating and giving you Random House's advanced publication copy (the same one that made me turn the book down initially...): In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself. But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather's recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.? ?Grief struck and searching for clues to her grandfather's final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. On their weekly trips to the zoo he would read to her from a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, which he carried with him everywhere; later, he told her stories of his own encounters over many years with "the deathless man," a vagabond who claimed to be immortal and appeared never to age. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself. One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence: a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness. "These stories," Natalia comes to understand, "run like secret rivers through all the other stories" of her grandfather's life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for. This is one of those books which, when you close the cover for the final time, makes you sit there for a moment staring at the picture on the front and thinking, "Wow!" In structure, the book has the feel of being composed of a number of short stories. While this is Ms. Obreht's first novel, she is an acclaimed short story author, so it is possible that this technique was used intensionally. What the author manages to do with these segments is what speaks to her great gifts. Imagine sentences as silken threads of a tapestry, woven into sections. As the narrative moves forward, many such sections emerge, and the background begins to fill in and connect the seemingly disparate parts. Téa Obreht is a master weaver. Never does the book come across feeling as if someone tried to writ
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can see the potential in this book. The stories were interestings and well written, however there were too many of them and the author doesn't do a good job linking them all together. At the end you are left with no connections and a feeling of wasted time and talent
OBXreaderNC More than 1 year ago
Bought the book based on the great reviews in all the magazines. I'm struggling to finish it and have been disappointed so far. Hoping it gets better in the last quarter of the book.
millstreetreader More than 1 year ago
Obreht definitely shows her talent for creating characters and stories in this book. As the stories/myths of the deathless man and the tiger's wife unraveled throughout the book, I was caught up in the back stories of the characters such as the waiter and the apothecary. The story telling itself reminded me of The Life of Pi. Natalie, the young doctor and granddaughter to the old doctor who has died, makes a strong narrator. However, I just wasn't interested in what was happening around her as she goes to the monastery to inoculate chldren. I've read other reviews which describe a better connection between the present day action of the book and the grandfather's stories than what I felt. I see the book's literary merit; I just am not a fan of stories that are so heavily laden with characters whose lives are molded by superstition and myth. Whether, the story is European, African, Indian, or Eastern, I am too much of a realist to be strongly attracted to such stories. I do believe that Tiger's Wife is a title worthy of book club discussions, especially since I've seen a wide range of reactions to it. Clearly, if you want a challenge, this is one to consider. If you expect a linear novel with defined plot and action, this will not meet your expectations. I received an e-copy of this book with the expectation that I would write an honest review. This reaction is my own.
Gingerella7 More than 1 year ago
This was a good book. Not a great book but a good one. What's a great book? A book that changes my life. A book that helped shape who I am now and hopefully will be in the future. A book that changes my mind. A book that changes my path. THIS book was a good read. It wasn't scattered or hard to read. It follows three stories. One in the present of the girls' Grandfather who died and two stories he told her in the past that helped shape who he was. One being The Tiger's Wife and one being The Deathless Man (he was my favorite). It did feel like it had definite closure. More about the closure of the soul than a tangible ending but an ending nonetheless. I even enjoyed the way it came full circle. There was a connection in the stories that I did not see coming. Anyways, I don't want to give away too much of the plot. But unlike many reviewers, I felt it wasn't "hard" to read at all (surely you can follow three stories with clearly defined story lines and chapter changes) nor was I left with the feeling of being left to hang. I felt the ending was perfect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kept waiting for a plot. I kept forcing myself to keep going thinking it would get better. I didn't really understand why some people were raving about it. Well written but not worth the money I paid for this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kept waiting for it all to make sense. Still waiting.
Aradanryl More than 1 year ago
Was originally interested in this book because of the setting (Balkans), my soft spot for orphanages and those who try to help, and the mystery that somehow brings in Kipling's Jungle book. I liked the mystical elements of the deathless man and the tiger. At times, the smaller story lines became very interesting. Unfortunately, most of the time I was merely an interested and occasionally confused reader. For the sensitive reader: spousal abuse, occasional gratuitous profanity Note: This advanced reader's edition was provided through the GoodReads First Read program with the expectation of an honest review. My opinions are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome. The one thing I like about The Tiger's Wife is that it is a beautifully written book. In fact, it is mesmerizing. I am awed by the creative mind of the author. Besides, it is a first book. It provides a fascinating insight into the Balkans and the myths or superstitions that abound there. The author conveys the deep message behind the story, which explains not only the resilience of the area but also the ravages that it has been subjected to throughout its turbulent history. Tea moved from the present to the past in an effortless manner, crafting characters that are both imposing and colorful. The way the real and the mythical are blended together in this story written by its promising author reminds me of Disciples of Fortune. The plot in this story is brilliant and the setting carries the day. The Balkans is a puzzling part of Europe. The writing itself is excellent. This is a book to read again.
CarolV More than 1 year ago
The book had the sporadic makings of a great one but was disjointed and confusing. I struggled to finish it, and ultimately ended up not caring enough what the ending was and put it down with 5 pages left. Waste of money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
we read the book for book club. I did not like it. Story was too disconnected between chapters. I can not recommend this book. Total waste of time for me.
vernandglen More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be all over the place. I liked the two short stories that were woven in, but did not feel that the author tied them together making it difficult to read and finish.
Coldfire7 More than 1 year ago
One of the two worst books I have ever read in my life. I don't have a clue what the author was envisioning writing this book. The book's story line is all over the place. It just doesn't tie together at all. I can't even wrap my head around this book. What a waste of money. I am returning the book. I can't even believe it was published in the first place.
Kathleen King More than 1 year ago
This novel totally restored my faith in the power of contemporary literature. Great storytelling, expansive plot, wonderful language. I was totally swept away. Enjoy!
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
The Tiger’s Wife is the first novel by Serbian-born American author, Tea Obrecht, and is the winner of the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction. Young doctor, Natalia Stefanovic is on an assignment with her life-long friend Zora to innoculate the children of a remote Balkan village orphanage when she learns of her grandfather’s death. Her grandmother believes he was on his way to meet Natalia, is distraught that he died alone in a town none of them recognises, and that his belongings are missing. As she tries to come to terms with the loss of a man who loomed large in her life, Natalia is distracted from her medical duties by memories of her grandfather and also by the strange digging activities in a nearby vineyard. Obrecht employs three narrative strands: Natalia relates what happens on her vaccination excursion; her grandfather, a well-respected doctor, tells of his three encounters with a deathless man; and Natalia chronicles the events of a certain winter in World War Two, when the village her grandfather grew up in was visited by a tiger. In each of the narrations, secondary characters are elegantly given backstories so that a collection of short stories is seamlessly woven into the whole. Obrecht’s characters are interesting and authentic and her descriptive prose is wonderfully evocative: “Pigeons, clustered thick enough to be visible from the hill, shuffled like cowled women up and down the street..” Against a backdrop of seemingly ever-present war, Obrecht explores superstitions and customs, secrets and lies, fears and rituals, history and folklore, myths and mysteries, love and revenge, and of course, death. This moving and thought-provoking novel is an amazing debut. Readers will look forward to more from Obrecht. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just reread this book and i find its vivid story telling and compelling charachters so rich and enjoyable to read. What an amazing first novel, truly an author to watch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Combining the aftermath of the war inBosnia with stories told by her recently deceased grandfather, a young, philanthropic doctor tries to find her way. Evocative and haunting.
mewant More than 1 year ago
i have no idea how someone so young writes so elegantly and poetically and most especially as if telling a great folk tale for the ages about personal loss due to chronic unstable environment. unspecified war. loss of father. much the core of the complex story. female searches to be. loss of big tiger. magic realism. sort of. great writing. for people who like classic true. not a light read but a great one. felt like a gentle fog cradling hard thoughts.
Lauren_83 More than 1 year ago
There were some interesting stories in this novel, but that's all it seemed like to me. A bunch of short stories that the author tried to cram together to make a novel. There was no connection between them and though the fables kept my attention, the rest of the book didn't. Nor did the the author do a very good job linking the past to the present. I enjoy a book that leaves a little to the imagination, but this was a little too much for me. At the end, I felt like I had missed something.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book... I was captivated with the story and characters from cover to cover. I loved the use of folklore in the story and I love how this book has a distinct sense of place. As an avid, but often broke traveler, I love books that expose me to different places in the world. I knew very little of the history and culture of the Balkans, after starting this book I have been compelled to do a little research to learn about this region. When reading this book, just enjoy the ride - not every journey is about the destination.