Jul 5, 2012

The Tiger's Wife

Original Title: The Tiger’s Wife
Turkish Title: Kaplanın Karısı
English Title: The Tiger’s Wife
Author: Téa Obreht
Pages: 355
My Rating: 4/5
While I was reading this book…: … two-time Wimbledon champion, Rafael Nadal was beaten by world number 100 Lukas Rosol in a second-round match: The biggest shock of Wimbledon 2012.

Thanks to Goodreads, I learned about this book. When a book is about the Balkans or takes place in that region, I always ended up reading it. Why I read is this simple.

Natalia is a young doctor in the Balkans. She has just lost her grandfather while she and her friend try to help sick children in a kind of orphanage. As she interacts with children and their families, priests, farmers and other doctors, she starts to remember the stories her grandfather used to tell her, especially the one about the deathless man and the tiger’s wife.

Natalia’s grandfather had a thing for jungle animals, especially tigers. His interest was a result of his obsession with Rudyard Kipling’s well-known book, “The Jungle Book”. He used to tell Natalia about the first tiger he ever saw, as a child in his small village. He told her the tiger had a wife — a deaf, mute woman who was accused of killing her very husband, Luka. Together with this story, Natalia also remembers her grandfather’s tale about the deathless man.

Meanwhile, war goes on in the Balkans. Natalia tries to help as many children as she can, while she tries to make sense of what is real in her grandfather’s stories and what is not.

There were two things about this book that kept my interest at top throughout the whole story. One of these is the fact that everything has taken place in the Balkans. The other one is the fact that Natalia’s grandfather’s favorite book is one of my childhood favorites as well. I read The Jungle Book several times and I watched the cartoon hundreds of times so all of the characters of this book, including the tiger Shere Khan are like my childhood friends. I mean, I had a positive opinion about the book from first page on.

The Tiger’s Wife was the second novel I read this year from “magical realism” genre. (First was Big Fish) I kind of liked it in both books. I liked the act of embedding magic and fantasy in real life stories. In this book the story of “deathless man” was my favorite. It took me almost a week to read the book and I wanted to have someone around me who read this book as well so that we could discuss but there was no one…

When you are reading The Tiger’s Wife you go backward and forward amongst the magical stories. Many readers say they were lost. Well, I did not so I ended up liking the book. Here I should also thank to Siren Publishing of Turkey for the creative cover they used in Turkish edition.

It was a debut novel so my first Téa Obreht read so I can count it for New Author Challenge.
Thanks to Sher Khan, I can count it for What An Animal Reading Challenge.
It was my free book for Summer Reading Challenge 2012.

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