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The Tiger's Wife Paperback – 13 Jun 2011

3.4 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (13 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753827409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753827406
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.3 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

A wonderful, really remarkable novel...fascinating, unusual, original (Erica Wagner on WOMAN'S HOUR, RADIO 4)

A magical, distinctive tale. (Emma Lee-Potter DAILY EXPRESS)

As enchanting as it is surprising ... Obreht's prose style is full-bodied and vibrant, and she conjures brilliant images on every page. (Edmund Gordon SUNDAY TIMES)

War and its legacy ricochets through Obreht's kaleidoscopic dance of myth, folk memory and interrelated stories ... dizzying and ambitious (LONDON METRO)

a stunning tale with the mythic quality of a fairy story (TIMES)

Mysterious and funny (SUNDAY HERALD)

A distinctive, magical tale (DAILY EXPRESS)

Book Description

Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Four Violets TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Sept. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I did enjoy this and I feel that one day Tea Obreht will write something superb. But sometimes I found myself getting a little bored and skipping pages, I would not have been moved at the death of any of the characters except the Tiger's Wife herself, and I found it quite hard to keep track of what was happening as the story darts about with many little side-tracks. But yes, beautifully written
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Téa Obreht's "The Tiger's Wife" comes with a fair degree of hype from the US, and largely it lives up to it, which is no small achievement. The main story is set in Yugoslavia and explores a young doctor, Natalia, seeking for the truth about her grandfather's death, while on a mission to deliver much needed medical aid to an orphanage in the war-ravaged Balkans. But what sets this book apart is the intricate weaving of reality with the myths and stories of the region. In particular there are two myths that represent a good chunk of the page count: the story of a tiger who has escaped from captivity after the World War two bombing of Belgrade and who has settled near a remote mountain village where Natalia's grandfather is growing up, and who develops a strange relationship with a deaf-mute girl who becomes known as "the tiger's wife"; and a mysterious story of the "Deathless Man" whom the grandfather encounters at various points in his life who appears to have the power to foresee others' death without being able to die himself.

Lovers of folk stories will love this combination, while those with a lack of tolerance for the more magical storytelling genre will inevitably find less appeal here. If you enjoyed Yann Martel's "Life of Pi", another tiger-featuring imaginative book, then this will be right up your street.

It's a surprisingly ambitious structure for such a young, first-time author and in most respects, she carries it off with aplomb, although I suspect that with a little more experience, some of the storytelling could have been tightened up slightly which would have enhanced the impact. At times the stories seem to drift on a bit.
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Format: Paperback
Probably a *3.5 for this highly unusual, well-written and ambitious first novel, in which the author gives us two stories in alternate chapters.
In one, set in the modern day, narrator Natalia, a young doctor, tells of her posting to a village orphanage. She recalls the Yugoslav wars of her childhood, and her beloved grandfather, who has just died.
In the other thread, she relates stories her grandfather told her: his several meetings with the "deathless man" ; and his memories of a deaf-mute woman, beaten by her husband, but castigated by the villagers as "the tiger's wife" for apparently helping an escaped zoo animal...
This is a very symbolic work, requiring focus and which would benefit from a second reading. I appreciated the writing quality but nevertheless was glad to reach the end!
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Format: Paperback
Like many, I imagine, I was attracted to this book by the author's success in winning the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction with this her first novel which I found overlong.

Two stories entwine - that of Natalia, a young medic in the Balkans in the immediate aftermath of the War who attempts to deliver vaccines to an orphanage, and the story of her grandfather, who has just died, as both a young child and as a medical professor who accompanied her to visit a tiger in the city zoo with a copy of Kipling's The Jungle Book in his pocket.

A great deal of 20th century and contemporary history is included and one should not doubt the personal involvement of the author's family and friends in many areas providing background to the story. However, my enjoyment was severely constrained by the apparent lack of any effective editing.

The book is divided into chapters each of which includes to be one or more stories but which are expanded into page after page of meandering text, much of which strays well outside the borders of the original story. The story involving Natalia the vaccine deliverer is rather weak and the characters involved in it are, in my opinion, poorly presented with, perhaps, the exception of her friend Zora, and I could not understand her motivation to travel secretly to the place where her grandfather had died to retrieve his belongings.

The stories about Natalia's grandfather as a child and his dealings with the eponymous Tiger's Wife are more interesting are too often overshadowed by folk tales. It was also too great a challenge for the author to introduce a deaf-mute as a leading character. However, a series of more-or-less interesting chapters does not add up to a substantial novel.
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Format: Hardcover
I probably would have wanted to read Téa Obreht's debut novel at some point regardless of its inclusion on the Orange Prize long and short lists and then winning it because, regardless of the hype of her being claimed a young writer to watch, I like books that are rather magical and `fairytale for grown ups' was one of the things I kept hearing in regard to `The Tiger's Wife' when it was mentioned. It is also a novel about the country formerly known as Yugoslavia and its break up, a subject which fascinates me. I actually holidayed there as a child and was fascinated by the news as this country was torn apart. So its interesting that while aspects of it were brilliance, overall I was left a tiny bit let down. Let me explain...

For me one of the greatest charms of `The Tiger's Wife' was the story of the relationship between grandfather and grandchild. Our narrator, Natalia a doctor, tells us the tale of her grandfather's life from the memories she has of him and the tales that he told her of his former life after she learns from her grandmother that he has died in mysterious circumstances and after he disappeared telling everyone he was going to see Natalia. It's the mystery, the fact some of his possessions are missing and the need to understand him that sets Natalia on a mental, rather than physical, journey to work out just who her grandfather was.

The thing I loved about the novel also became the thing that I didn't love so much about it. As the story goes on we are introduced to the myths and fables of her grandfather's life. Whilst I love these sort of `fairytales for adults', sometimes I was just confused by them. I would read them, like the tale of the deathless man, really enjoy them and yet be left wondering as to their relevance as a whole.
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