Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Review: The Tiger's Wife

What is this book about? I really couldn't say, definitively. The Tiger's Wife, by Téa Obreht, is a peculiar, winding novel that doesn't seem to have any real direction or conclusion. There were small parts of the book that I liked, but I couldn't figure out how it all fit together as a whole. At the end I was left thinking, "I don't get it."

The Tiger's Wife is supposed to be an intense coming of age novel about loss, mourning, life and the storytelling that inhabits a history. It is set in a Balkan country mending from years of conflict and is told by Natalia, a young doctor who is grieving over the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather's recent death. She knows that one winter during WWII his childhood village was stalked by an escaped zoo tiger, and her present day journey is intermixed with stories of her grandfather's experiences with "the tiger's wife," the "deathless man," and other seemingly irrelevant characters and tales.

The stories weave in and out of one another with what seem like very few connections, until the end of the book when they basically just... stop. There was no "ah ha moment" where everything came together for me, and I never realized why I had been reading all these disjointed tales, or was able to discover how they all connected. The author's writing style was okay, but I just couldn't get past the fact that there wasn't a forward moving story. I suspect she was trying to focus on character development, but I thought that left the book seriously lacking.

I will be very curious to see what my book club has to say about this one.


  1. Thanks the review! I hate when I can't figure out how the stories connect together, I find it really upsetting actually!

  2. You're welcome! I always try to warn people if I come across a terrible book so they won't waste their time like I did!


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