The Tiger’s Wife / Tea Obreht

Tea Obreht has delivered a truly stunning debut novel.  With a prose style that is vibrant, lyrical, and imaginative, she expertly moves between realistic and mythic storytelling to blend the two into a seamless whole.  Set in an unnamed Balkan country mending from the wounds of war, the reader is introduced to Natalia, a young doctor traveling on a humanitarian trip who learns her beloved grandfather has recently died in the country she is heading towards.  Investigating why he had left his home when suffering from terminal cancer, Natalia recalls the stories he told her of three separate meetings with “the deathless man.”  I guarantee “the deathless man” is a character that will long be remembered by readers of this novel.  But what Natalia has to piece together is a story her grandfather never shared with her—the legend of the tiger’s wife and the reason why he always carried a worn copy of The Jungle Book.  Obreht’s novel was chosen as one of the top books of the year by numerous publications.  I second their nominations.  The novel is a marvelous blend of current-day grim reality with folk tales that have survived through countless generations.  Tea Obreht is an author who emerges from the gate with an ambitious novel that announces the arrival of a tremendously gifted author.

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