The tigers wife by Tea Obreht

Source – review copy (requested by me)

Well I very rarely want get caught up in Hype books but read about this book and it writer Tea Obreht made me .Tea was born in Former Yugoslavia,lived there til she was 7 the in cyprus and Egypt .Before settling with her family in the us were eventually she took  a  MA  in creative writing at Cornell university ,she is teaching there now this is her first novel .I was amazed that someone so young could write a book that by the blurb seems to have been written by some one that is older .

Well what is the tigers wife about ,its set in Yugoslavia ,it is about a grandfather and his granddaughter Natalia ,her grandfather has disappears she is away doing vaccination in a distant town ,  so she rushes off and decides to find him .Whilst doing this we discover her childhood and the fact he always carried a volume of Rudyard Kipling’s the Jungle book and told the young  Natalia  ,stories from this book which he loved .This reminded me of my friend Rob of Rob Around books and his hunt for a book that can be a constant companion to the reader ,rob found this in part with the Essays of Michel de Montaigne ,also in the book the english patient the main character count Alamsy  has a copy of histories by Herodotus that he has loved and kept things in ,so here the grandfather had enchanted his young grand-daughter with tales from Jungle book mixed with local history like the tale of the tigers wife of the title of the book a tale of a mysterious silent women from the second world war ,also the man she thing her grandfather is looking for the deathless man ,a man who has lived forever and wanders the backlands where her grandfather lives .There is also tale of the tiger that escaped from the zoo during the war ,that enthralled her grandfather as it seemed th book he ;loved had come to life .to find out what happens to Natalia and her grandfather you better read the book .

Everything necessary to understand my grandfather lies between the two stories : the story of the tiger’s wife and the story of the deathless man .These stories run like  secret rivers through all the other stories of his life – of my grandfathers days in the army ; his great love for my grandmother ; the years he spent as a surgeon and a tyrant of the university .One ,which i learned after his death ,is story of how my grandfather became a man ,the other which told to me ,is of how he became a child again .

opening of the second chapter .

This book is filled with love ,it is a story of generations ,of Tea’s homeland the Balkans .We get a heady mix of folkish tales and magic realism .I find hard and disheartening that this is a book written by a 25-year-old if you didn’t know you would think it was a much older writer ,it has echos of a lot of great books a bit of the English patient ,a bit of  life of pi and maybe some magic realism of marquez and Okri .I m happy I asked for this book does it live up to the Hype yes it does .If your at Hay festival Tea is there talikg about this book .

32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sakura
    May 10, 2011 @ 11:10:08

    There’s been lots of mixed reviews about this book but it’s one I’m really interested in reading:)

    Reply

  2. Jennifer McFarland
    May 10, 2011 @ 11:17:03

    This book was filled with just enough magic to make it real. It is such a beautiful book that crept into my dreams. I strongly encourage anyone to read it.

    Reply

  3. The Book Whisperer
    May 10, 2011 @ 12:20:34

    I’m reading this book right now, Stu. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Reply

  4. Petty Witter
    May 10, 2011 @ 16:12:08

    I’ve read a lot about this book, nearly all good I have to say, thank you for adding your thoughts, I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

    Reply

  5. Emily Jane
    May 10, 2011 @ 17:45:28

    I think it’s really impressive to have a successful book out at such a young age–haven’t read it yet, but it sounds really interesting!

    Reply

  6. JoV
    May 10, 2011 @ 20:21:12

    Certainly wanted to read this. Thanks for the review Stu, another reason to read this one.

    Reply

  7. Anbolyn
    May 11, 2011 @ 05:02:18

    I bought this when it came out a couple of months ago, but haven’t been able to get into it. Your review makes me want to try again.

    Reply

  8. Tom C
    May 11, 2011 @ 07:57:43

    Fascinating review. I have read only a few books from Balkan writers. The similarities between this and Life of Pi are interesting. It sounds like it may be quite a difficult book to read however

    Reply

  9. Jackie (Farm Lane Books)
    May 11, 2011 @ 09:24:38

    I don’t think you can say you were caught up in the hype – you mentioned on your blog way before anyone else had even heard of it🙂 It wasn’t for me, but I’m pleased that you enjoyed it. Just think how good her books will be as she gets older!

    Reply

  10. Bina
    May 11, 2011 @ 14:07:13

    What a gorgeous cover, and it sounds like Obreht is astonighingly accomplished for her age. I hadn’t heard of it before your review, sometimes I wonder how I do not notice such hype😀

    Reply

  11. Willa
    May 11, 2011 @ 19:41:04

    This one is at the top of my TBR list – thanks for reviewing it Stu. Have a great day!

    Reply

  12. Geosi
    May 12, 2011 @ 09:44:19

    If this book has a bit of Okri and Ondaatje, then I’m in for it. Thanks for sharing this and I see how much you enjoyed it.

    Reply

  13. kiss a cloud
    May 17, 2011 @ 06:14:48

    Everyone seems to be reading this book!😀

    Reply

  14. savidgereads
    May 17, 2011 @ 13:35:12

    I read this a while back and was really on the fence about it (in my head that is, hence why a review hasnt gone up on SR) and I actually think, with it being on the Orange shortlist, I should give it a re-read. Its a book I wanted to love with all my heart, and sort of did… yet sort of didnt. I do wonder if this subconciously is anything to do with the massive hype its had as you mention.

    Reply

  15. Violet
    May 18, 2011 @ 10:19:19

    I got this from the library today. Not sure if it will be my cup of tea, but I intend giving it a whirl.

    Reply

  16. lisa
    May 18, 2011 @ 19:03:32

    i’m just coming back into the blogging world and am seeing this one quite a bit, but it does sound interesting. i’m glad you enjoyed it, stu, and might have to give it a look when i can find the time.

    Reply

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