Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tiger Tale

Storytelling at its best, The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht reads as though it is a tale passed down through your own family.  The novel follows Natalia in her role as a doctor and, more importantly, as a granddaughter in a Balkan country.  Bouncing between past memories of her grandfather and the present search for details surrounding his death, Natalia explores both worlds in exquisite detail.  Her story serves as the base for the two other lines running through this work as well; the tale of the tiger’s wife and the deathless man.  Both are from earlier in her grandfather’s life but take on an air of fable as they are removed from the normalcy of the modern world and have a mythological feel.  A deaf and mute woman who builds a relationship with a runaway tiger in a small town and a man who cannot die but helps others move on are certainly not everyday occurrences but help further the “acceptance of death” theme that runs throughout. It’s virtually impossible to not get caught up in this multi-part tale and I think it is easy to see why Obreht was named one of the “20 under 40” by the New Yorker.

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