Monday, May 16, 2011

The Tiger's Wife

I've been putting off writing about The Tiger's Wife because I've been trying to think about how to do it justice other than simply saying that it lived up to the hype surrounding it. It's gotten a lot of buzz as being the first book by Tea Obreht. At twenty-five (but looking closer to sixteen in her author photo on the jacket) she was chosen last year as one of The New Yorker's "20 Under 40" writers. I'll admit that I was on the lookout for some flaw that would discredit all of the hype when I started reading, but had forgotten all about that by around page 40, when I found myself completely absorbed in the story.

The Tiger's Wife is a mutli-layered, meandering kind of novel. It's narrated by Natalia, a young doctor in the former Yugoslavia who, while on her way to set up a clinic at an orphanage, gets word of her grandfather's mysterious and sudden death. Natalia's story is then layered with stories of her grandfather's boyhood, which are in turn entwined with the stories that are part of the superstitions and folklore of the village where he grew up. Each section of the story is so vividly written that I can only imagine the force of creativity that it took to get it all on the page. The very end of the book didn't do quite as much as it could have, but the rich, engrossing story that preceded it makes that seem like a minor, inconsequential complaint.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails