‘The Tiger’s Wife’ by Tea Obreht

tigers wife

A debut novel that won the Orange Prize for fiction, ‘The Tiger’s Wife’ is the story of a doctor, his grand daughter who happens to be a doctor as well and various other characters, mostly from his childhood. Natalia is on her way to an orphanage across the border when she comes to know of her grandfather’s death in an obscure village. As she tries to piece together fragments from her grand father’s life, the author takes us through the lives of some seemingly strange characters – the deathless man, Luka the butcher, the apothecary and the young girl who come to be known as the ‘tiger’s wife.’

The narrative is brilliant, you feel as though you are walking the path with the characters. The reference to ‘The Jungle Book’ is what made me pick the book up, but then I realized that was a mere prop for at least one of the villagers, in this case, the grand father as a boy, to know what the devilish animal was. The story of Luka, how he turned from a soft, almost girlish boy to a terrorizing husband and butcher, was captivating. The apothecary’s story was a little dragging, though. As for the deathless man, I really could not understand what that was all about, maybe I have not reached that stage of mysticism yet.

As one of the reviewers said, this book would have been really enjoyable as a collection of short stories, each separate story was so well woven. As for the ending, did not even realize I had reached there, it was that abrupt. It maybe a contradiction, but in spite of all the disconnects and loose ends, this is a book that I really enjoyed reading. Isn’t that what good story tellers do to you?

Verdict – If you are the kind of person who would enjoy the journey, relishing the sights, the smell and the tastes along the way, not caring about how the destination is going to be or even where it is, go ahead…

About wanderlustathome

Dabbling in numbers for a living while dreaming of words all the while.

Posted on August 1, 2013, in Fiction, Orange Prize. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, somehow.

    By the way, since you seem to be into reading fiction based in different cultures these days, I thought I’d let you know about a book I picked up recently. It is called 20 Fragments Of A Ravenous Youth, and is based on the life of a movie extra in modern China. I haven’t read it yet, but it looks interesting. You might want to look it up.

    • Thanks for that! Added to my list. Found reference to another book of the same author with a very interesting title – ‘A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers’ 😀

      • Yeah, that one is on my list. That sounds good. 🙂

        I was excited to find a book by the same author, and picked it up immediately. Hope I don’t grow to regret the impulse buy. 😀

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