@Kindle Ù The Tiger's Wife ô eBook or E-pub free

One of those books that casts a spell from which you emerge so reluctantly after the last word The cycles of death and rebirth, superstition and truth, love and revenge weave through the legends and family stories of the Balkans and the quests of two doctors, a modern young woman and her beloved grandfather When your fight has purpose to free you from something, to interfere on behalf of the innocent it has the hope of finality When the fight is about unraveling when it is about your nam One of those books that casts a spell from which you emerge so reluctantly after the last word The cycles of death and rebirth, superstition and truth, love and revenge weave through the legends and family stories of the Balkans and the quests of two doctors, a modern young woman and her beloved grandfather When your fight has purpose to free you from something, to interfere on behalf of the innocent it has the hope of finality When the fight is about unraveling when it is about your name, the places to which your blood is anchored, the attachment of your name to some landmark or event there is nothing but that, and the long, slow progression of people who feed on it and are fed it, meticulously, by the ones who come before them Then the fight is endless, and comes in waves and waves, but always retains its capacity to surprise those who hope against it p.283 Duality The Tiger s Wife is an ambitious book of depth and meaning, which draws links between troubled aftermath in a war torn European region, and the backdrop of superstition and myths There is a theme adopted throughout the book that opposing positions are regularly confronted, such as modern technology and medicine, with fables and folklore This confrontation also relates to the novel s location which is within former Yugoslavia but with families now spread across two unspecified countries Duality The Tiger s Wife is an ambitious book of depth and meaning, which draws links between troubled aftermath in a war torn European region, and the backdrop of superstition and myths There is a theme adopted throughout the book that opposing positions are regularly confronted, such as modern technology and medicine, with fables and folklore This confrontation also relates to the novel s location which is within former Yugoslavia but with families now spread across two unspecified countries where borders have been defined with bloodshed.Natalia is a young doctor visiting the region on a humanitarian mission to establish a clinic at an orphanage and inoculate the children She faces the task of administering modern antibiotics to the children while the adult villagers are preoccupied digging over a field, seeking the bones of a relation buried 12 years earlier Rather than being reassured with medical treatment, they feel they need to focus on collecting all the bones to ceremoniously bury the body so the illnesses that have befallen their village can be lifted.Natalia is soon informed of her Grandfather s death and her memories of him as a doctor and the stories he regaled her with, come to the fore She sees the dichotomy of a man of medicine with a belief in fables as she holds onto his cherished copy of The Jungle Book by Rudyard KiplingEverything necessary to understand my grandfather lies between two stories the story of the tiger s wife, and the story of the deathless man These stories run like secret rivers through all the other stories of his life One which I learned after his death, is the story of how my grandfather became a man the other, which he told me, is of how he became a child againThe background to the stories is told at different time periods and the grandfather s connection with them is fascinating and thought provoking The deathless man was the nephew of death himself, who came to heal but ended up carrying the souls of the dead to the other side A story that possibly resonated with his medical profession and the contrast is once again evident to see, between healing and death.The other tale tells of an escaped tiger where after months of roaming the countryside took refuge just outside the little village of Galina Sometimes coming closer but mainly staying out of reach The butcher of Galina, Luka, had a wife who was known as the deaf mute girl, a wife he subjected to regular vicious beatings After Luka died from what is believed to have been tiger attack, his wife became known as the tiger s wife because she frequented the barn where the tiger was seen When she is identified as being pregnant, the villagers claim that she s carrying the tiger s baby Natalia s grandfather, as a young boy, knows the tiger s wife and is the only villager unafraid of the tiger but he has a secret that he maintains from everyone He sees the manifestation of Shere Khan from The Jungle Book and his imagination like many of the villagers is set to proffer another myth.The novel is unique and wonderfully delivered with exceptional story telling from T a Obreht It achieved a wonderful balance of interfacing religion, culture, new and old, reality and superstition, war and peace, destruction and rebuilding, contemporary medicine and traditional healing A story where the reader can interpret the meaning as they wish and project deeper meaning into the two fables This book was a prize winner and one that I would highly recommend reading @Kindle ë The Tiger's Wife  Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, T a Obreht, the youngest of The New Yorker s twenty best American fiction writers under forty, has spun a timeless novel that will establish her as one of the most vibrant, original authors of her generationIn a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea By the time she and her lifelong friend Z ra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards Secrets hidden in the landscape itselfBut Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather s recent death After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel Grief struck and searching for clues to her grandfather s final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child On their weeklytrips to the zoo he would read to her from a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling s The Jungle Book, which he carried with him everywhere later, he told her stories of his own encounters over many years with the deathless man, a vagabond who claimed to be immortal and appeared never to age But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness These stories, Natalia comes to understand, run like secret rivers through all the other stories of her grandfather s life And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for From the Hardcover edition While praising Obreht for writing with great lyrical force, some have criticized her for writing a disjointed novel I disagree Her novel s central question asks, How do people respond to death The setting is the Balkans, an area with complex histories and cultures all wrestling with death in one form or another death from disease, from poverty and from violence both small within the walls of a family s home or large scale as with air raid bombing Death stalks the people of the Balkans While praising Obreht for writing with great lyrical force, some have criticized her for writing a disjointed novel I disagree Her novel s central question asks, How do people respond to death The setting is the Balkans, an area with complex histories and cultures all wrestling with death in one form or another death from disease, from poverty and from violence both small within the walls of a family s home or large scale as with air raid bombing Death stalks the people of the Balkans like a tiger demonstrating its inherent brutality, grace, and stealth Her characters respond to death in various ways, both literal and symbolic We respond in a logical, scientific way as do three characters who are physicians We respond by hunting down death as do a handful of characters We respond as butchers As magicians As ghosts As artists As death s lover As storytellers The novel contains a host of characters who symbolize these various responses to death, but it s organized around Natalia and her grandfather, who are both doctors Her grandfather adoptsthan one response to death through his love of stories as indicated by his well worn copy of The Jungle Book which notably features a tiger Even in the present day, Natalia hears stories from the locals whom she treats, tales that are a mix of old and new, a mix of fact and fiction I had to read The Tiger s Wife slowly and with great attention, or it sprang at me with shocking surprises about the particulars of life in the Balkans and about the universal responses we have to death Like the tiger that serves as the central symbol, Obreht has created a mesmerizing novel filled with horrible, beautiful force I think it s interesting to look at the literature coming out now that has to do with building a mythology Is it because of the incredible works of people like Angela Carter, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Italo Calvino and others who have influenced so strongly this generation Or is it that as we become increasingly godless and mythless, there is something to the human that needs the myth to survive I am reminded by the knitting and food preserving revolutions that have exploded, something that use I think it s interesting to look at the literature coming out now that has to do with building a mythology Is it because of the incredible works of people like Angela Carter, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Italo Calvino and others who have influenced so strongly this generation Or is it that as we become increasingly godless and mythless, there is something to the human that needs the myth to survive I am reminded by the knitting and food preserving revolutions that have exploded, something that used to be what our grandmothers did that a generation took back from parents who left it behind when microwaves and machines made the practices unpractical Novels like this seem to be a rebellion to the John Updikes and Raymond Carvers of literature So many of the first novels coming out now are filled with ghosts and dybbuks that it s hard to imagine that graduate students won t have many theses to write about this subject I happen to love the myth making, but then I am a part of this generation The myths here are generated from a grandfather to his granddaughter Obreht handles the transition from belief expertly In the end, there isn t anything resolute to make a judgement on the validity to the grandfather s stories, but the heroes of the book are the ones who, with compassion, allow the myths to prevail, even if they aren t myths at all but the science of the afterlife The Tiger s Wife, T a ObrehtThe Tiger s Wife is the debut novel of Serbian American writer T a Obreht It was published in 2011 The Tiger s Wife is set in an unnamed Balkan country, spanning the mid 20th century to the early 21st century It features a young doctor s relationship with her grandfather and the stories he tells her, primarily about the deathless man who meets him several times in different places and never changes, and a deaf mute girl from his childhood village who befriends a The Tiger s Wife, T a ObrehtThe Tiger s Wife is the debut novel of Serbian American writer T a Obreht It was published in 2011 The Tiger s Wife is set in an unnamed Balkan country, spanning the mid 20th century to the early 21st century It features a young doctor s relationship with her grandfather and the stories he tells her, primarily about the deathless man who meets him several times in different places and never changes, and a deaf mute girl from his childhood village who befriends a tiger that has escaped from a zoo 2016 1391 365 9786005941807 1392 1394 21 I cannot recommend this book I have given it only two stars I am almost thinking of giving this one star I will be very specific in listing what disturbed me Let me mention immediately that those readers who enjoy fantasy novels will enjoy thisthan I did The events are so fantastical that I cannot classify this as a book of magical realism, but rather fantasy I love magical realism, but dislike fantasy The themes covered are war, Balkan myths, death and man s relationship to animals I cannot recommend this book I have given it only two stars I am almost thinking of giving this one star I will be very specific in listing what disturbed me Let me mention immediately that those readers who enjoy fantasy novels will enjoy thisthan I did The events are so fantastical that I cannot classify this as a book of magical realism, but rather fantasy I love magical realism, but dislike fantasy The themes covered are war, Balkan myths, death and man s relationship to animals I feel the author, T a Obreht, is too ambiguous What is she trying to say I do not want messages hammered into me, but in this novel you can think whatever you damn well please In addition, T a Obreht shocks the reader with gruesome events Once again, I am not averse to books that expose horrible behavior or horrendous crimes of humanity, if there is a point to be made, if there is a lesson to be learned Here I felt the prime goal was simply to shock There are many gruesome events involving animals You have been warned I am not going to give you an excerpt Some passages are utterly revolting Animals eating themselves was this necessary If this did happen during the war, I want a note to anchor it to reality The author chose to not use real names of cities in the Balkans, although one can guess that it takes place at the Croatian Bosnian border or perhaps Belgrade, Serbia Anyone would assume this is because she wants to express the universality of war s horrors Is that such a profound idea Couldn t the author have been a teeny bitexplicit I found the author s view expressed in an interview The plot concerns the relationship between a grandfather and his granddaughter Both are doctors At the beginning of the novel the grandfather dies The book s central plot line is the granddaughter s search to understand the missing links in her grandfather s life, to better understand who he was This is done by flipping to the past Past events are told as stories that have a fantastical character Two primary stories concern a man that never dies and a woman who feeds a tiger escaped from the town s closed zoo I found it disorienting to constantly be flipping between different time periods and stories The strange stories were long and detailed The characters acted in ways beyond my comprehension, and I felt there was too much extraneous information Is this another way of saying that I was not captivated by these stories While the villagers of Galina are reluctant to talk about the tiger and his wife, they will never hesitate to tell you stories of one of the lateral participants in their story page 239 That was a nasty kick from me Even the author herself states that lateral participants are depicted And what a peculiar choice of words lateral participants I see them as minor, unimportant characters and I certainly do not have to know everything that has ever happened to them Better editing, please Or if I am kind, let me just say that I personally could not feel empathy for themPerhaps one mist enjoy books of fantasy to enjoy this novel So what did I like in this book Some lines beautifully describe a place You see the landscapes The author is great with coloring in the nuances Natalia the granddaughter will travel to Brjevina, where her grandfather died It was a small seaside village forty kilometers east of the new border We drove through red roofed villages that clung to the lip of the sea, past churches and horse pastures, past steep plains bright with purple bellflowers, past sunlit waterfalls that thrust out of the sheer rock face above the road Ever so often we entered woodland, high pine forests dotted with olives and cypresses, the sea flashing like a knife where the forest fell away down the slopepage 17 I have driven along the Croatian coastline This was a perfect description of what I saw And then there is a dog called Bis I loved what he did This too made me appreciate the book So maybe, if you like fantasy novels, you might have less trouble with this than I did For the reasons listed above, I cannot recommend it I haven t even gotten into a discussion of what the book supposedly has to say about death IMO, nothing all that profound I was born in Belgrade a few years before the author and unlike her lived there until college graduation, throughout the wars and crises of the 1990s I was hoping that this book could tell some authentic stories about my generation and my homeland, but after reading it I am disappointed on various levels, which I will try to explain in this review MYTHS and RITUALS I start here because this book is mostly advertised as a mythical Balkan novel Some basic concepts the author does get right, I was born in Belgrade a few years before the author and unlike her lived there until college graduation, throughout the wars and crises of the 1990s I was hoping that this book could tell some authentic stories about my generation and my homeland, but after reading it I am disappointed on various levels, which I will try to explain in this review MYTHS and RITUALS I start here because this book is mostly advertised as a mythical Balkan novel Some basic concepts the author does get right, for example the forty days of the soul do begin on the morning after death I think that nearly all Serbians know this and observe 40 days of the soul, most commonly by hiring a priest to perform a short, simple, singing based service at the cemetery on the 40th day after death In the book, Grandma s obsession with other details, such as not doing laundry etc, seems a little overblown, especially since it later gets revealed that this character is actually Muslim, so the deaths of her parents and cousins would not have involved such rituals in her hometown, as the narrator mentions But considering other issues in the novel, this is a relatively minor flaw The gory rituals that the diggers perform in the book bother me a lotThis is supposed to be a realistic contemporary part of the story, and readers are supposed to believe that peasants would search for bones of a distant cousin in someone s vineyard and that they would wash the bones the cracked dome of the skull, wiping down the empty sockets and the crooked lines between the teeth Then they were breaking the thighbones, sawing through them with a cleaver so that the body could not walk in death to bring sickness to the living This is supposed to be happening in broad daylight, with about a dozen people actively participating, and manypassers by watching, out of curiosity Please The Balkans had their share of trouble, but average people haven t grown accustomed to this level of goriness, and I ve never heard of anything like wash the bones, bring the body, leave the hearth behind , and can t imagine any of my cousins or friends doing anything but running away in horror at this kind of proposition or a much milder one, to be honest FOLKLORE The author tries to use some elements of the Balkan folklore, which is a good idea in principle, because the region is rich with colorful traditions I just wish she didresearch and tried to stay true to the real folklore, instead of mixing it with other random elements For example, there is a story of gusle the traditional instrument and a character who aspires and ultimately fails to become an expert guslar A traditional guslar sings epic songs about courage, freedom and loyalty, which the character sadly never tells in the book and the author never seriously addresses Instead, she introduces two entirely foreign elements the tiger and the deathless man One would be acceptable and I like the tiger better, for his role in the story I discuss bellow , but two is too much The deathless man feels alien and generic, like a lost cousin of Joe Black, sent to this novel by some hurried Hollywood producer, in an effort to tie together the loose plot treads Disappointing CHARACTERS and PLOT The book is narrated by a young doctor Natalia, who we get to know through her fearless search for clues surrounding her grandfather s death, and some earlier memories that are mostly defined by her aspiration for proper medical education in her troubled hometown I haven t connected with this character at all, even thought I am supposed to be of her age and background, and actually have friends who are young doctors in Belgrade But there is no emotion that rings true and very few stories seem plausible For example, she thinks it s necessary that the University provides one corpse a week per student for educational purposes on the second year of pre med, and responds to the lack of such resources by taking a trip to a Romanian human skull counterfeiter Come on Thankfully, Natalia is not the main character and her grandfather is a littleinteresting in my mind, mostly because of the compassionate episode with the tiger and his wife Their unusual relationship is actually the bright point of this novel But the mystery surrounding his death turns into another disappointment and the real reason for his trip to Zdrevkov ultimately doesn t make much sense As for the plot, at one point I was hopeful that everything might come together nicely, and was almost going to swallow the gruesome diggers, for I imagined they might be necessary to reveal the central question about grandfather s death But it turns out that all the narrator really needs to answer this question is between her old memories and the bag she retrieves pretty early on her journey, so for the entire second half of the book her present actions contribute only to illuminating the grim side story of the village she is staying in Argh SETTING The narrator lives in The City, with two rivers one of which is The Danube, the Zoo at the old citadel, and people who eat burek and drink rakija So why not just call it Belgrade If she really wanted to make it vaguer, she could have omitted at least one river and left the other one unnamed With the details provided, I have to call it Belgrade nothing else makes sense So the narrator is in Belgrade at the beginning of the first recent major war that would be 1992 and the Administration has enforced the curfew, and the teenagers are protesting in their cars, and the hardest thing to find is foreign music In reality, as far as I know, there was no memorable curfew, and no teenagers drove cars the legal driving age was 18 and the gas was mighty expensive, so there was hardly any traffic in the city , and media piracy blossomed, so music was the cheapest thing to find Should I go on CONCLUSION Tea Obreht is a talented writer with some knowledge of the Balkans This could have been an interesting book, had the author doneresearch and tried to stay true toauthentic and less sensational elements As written, the book is a mix of truths and misconceptions, which in my opinion succeeds in making an average reader very confused and a knowledgeable reader quite irritated in the end And the big message is That the Balkans are sad and tragic, and that desperate people resort to personal and collective myths in order to deal with harsh realities 350 pages to learn this The good news is that the Balkans are less grim anddimensional than this novel suggests and I hope that one day someone manages to capture that in some better book 5 stars for hype4 stars for beautiful writing3 stars for interesting folk stories2 stars for plot1 star for meaning5 stars Hype I m in the book trade I have a book shop I know that all these magazines from the distributors and the newsletters from the book sites that purport to introduce us in an unbiased way to new releases are ttotally fake Every single one of those books is paid for advertising And a lot of money was spent on hyping this book up.4 stars Beautiful writing Luminous eve 5 stars for hype4 stars for beautiful writing3 stars for interesting folk stories2 stars for plot1 star for meaning5 stars Hype I m in the book trade I have a book shop I know that all these magazines from the distributors and the newsletters from the book sites that purport to introduce us in an unbiased way to new releases are ttotally fake Every single one of those books is paid for advertising And a lot of money was spent on hyping this book up.4 stars Beautiful writing Luminous even Obreht has a way with words that mostly stays in the realm of readable literature and only occasionally strays into the boringly poetic descriptions of place and landscape that the eye skims over.3 stars Folk stories There are two main stories in the book The story of the deathless man is most interesting because it is about a person, mythical or not, and people tend to be interested in reading about other people with personalities The second story, that of the tiger and the deaf mute woman nicknamed its wife is less so But it is actually based on the story of a tiger that did escape the zoo in the war and haunted the hills above the town.2 stars Plot What plot The protagonist wants to find out why her dying doctor grandfather chose this place to die and why he died alone That is the loose plot that hangs together the folk stories that the grandfather told his granddaughter 1 star Meaning The ending didn t really explain anything Others have understood it, have seen meaning in it maybe, but not me It was a let down.5 4 3 2 1 15 15 5 3 3 stars, just OK Civil war in the Balkans has left that region bereft and in need It is in this fascinating region that T a Obreht sets her elegantly written debut novel, The Tiger s Wife.While the protagonist of The Tiger s Wife is Natalia Stefanovic, a young doctor who has returned to her homeland to help the villagers, the central mystery of the book revolves around Natalia s beloved grandfather as Natalia seeks to reconstruct his final days and his death in a village named Zdrevkov, far from his home.Althou Civil war in the Balkans has left that region bereft and in need It is in this fascinating region that T a Obreht sets her elegantly written debut novel, The Tiger s Wife.While the protagonist of The Tiger s Wife is Natalia Stefanovic, a young doctor who has returned to her homeland to help the villagers, the central mystery of the book revolves around Natalia s beloved grandfather as Natalia seeks to reconstruct his final days and his death in a village named Zdrevkov, far from his home.Although Natalia s search for the rhyme and reason behind her grandfather s actions seems pretty straightforward, Obreht twines two folktales legends around the central story, and in their telling writes a story about stories And, even though Natalia is the protagonist of The Tiger s Wife, it s her wise, sweet grandfather who takes center stage, or at least he should.Natalia s grandfather lives in the City, a city that can only be Belgrade, but this is a book of fiction, and I really didn t care if Obreht named the city or not In fact, just calling it the City wasin keeping with the folktales and myths that make up a great part of this book Natalia s grandfather, who is also a physician, is also inordinately fond of animals, especially tigers When Natalia was a child, he often took her to visit the zoo and carried a tattered and torn copy of Kipling s The Jungle Book with him everywhere He is never without it It is from her grandfather that Natalia, who seems to be a stand in for the author, has come to love tigers, herself When she learns of her beloved grandfather s death, she s at a pay phone in a gas station at the border of an Eastern European country, which she and her best friend, Zora, are about to enter in order to deliver vaccines to an orphanage sorely in need Although her grandmother begs her to abandon her journey to the orphanage and come directly home, Natalia continues on, determined, not only to bring back her grandfather s possessions, which are secured in a blue pouch Natalia must not, under any conditions, open, but also to discover why the grandfather she thought she knew so well went off to die alone.During the war, Natalia s grandfather tried his best to pretend that nothing had changed even though doctors over fifty years of age, like himself, were suspected of loyalist feelings toward the unified state and thus suspended from the practice of medicine Natalia s grandfather defied the law, and he continued to see patients in secret However, what disrupted his lifethan his inability to practice medicine was the closing of the city zoo After the government closes the zoo, Natalia s grandfather can no longer indulge in his favorite weekly routing of visiting the tigers.One of the folktales that twines around the main storyline is one Natalia s grandfather told her and revolves around the deathless man, Gavran Gail , the nephew of Death, who defied and cheated Death by sparing a lover s life Condemned forever, Gail must spend eternity scouring the earth and gathering in souls For that reason, he travels with wars and epidemics, and has been cursed with agelessness, something many people think they would enjoy Gail , however, is quick to set the record straight Dying is not punishment, he tells the grandfather The dead are loved They give something to the living Once you put something into the ground, Doctor, you always know where to find it The other folktale is really a fable and takes place during World War II in the very village where Natalia s grandfather grew up After the Germans bombed the City in 1941, a tiger escaped from the zoo and took refuge in the mountains above the grandfather s village Almost everyone feared the tiger greatly, as well they should All, that is, but the deaf mute wife of the abusive local butcher, who has mysteriously disappeared The townspeople believed his wife might have killed him, and they also believed this same wife fed and cared for the tiger Because of this, they began calling her the tiger s wife The other person who loved and revered the tiger was a small boy, a small boy who would grow up to be Natalia s grandfather Everything necessary to understand my grandfather lies between two stories, Naralia says, the story of the tiger s wife, and the story of the deathless man These stories run like secret rivers through all the other stories of his life of my grandfather s days in the army his great love for my grandmother the years he spent as a surgeon and a tyrant of the University.I believed Natalia, but understanding her grandfather proved to be no easy task for this reader as the two folktales really tell us very little about the boy man who was Natalia s grandfather Even after reading the two folktales, I still didn t quite understand why Natalia s grandfather loved tigers so, or why he always carried a copy of The Jungle Book in his pocket But, I really wanted to understand Natalia may be our protagonist in this book, but her grandfather is the book s very heart and soul.If the book seems to be obsessed with death and with how people come to terms with death, it is It is also about the responsibilities the living owe the dead, and what has the power to live on, if not individually, then in the collective imagination.As Natalia and Zora continue with their medical mission to the orphanage, they come into contact with a family who is searching for the body of a hastily buried relative, one buried in a vineyard during the war, and one the family has now come to retrieve The man s displacement is literally making the children of the family sick The family wants to rebury the man, so that they, and he, have peace Obreht s words will cause some readers to shiver as Natalia and the others locate the dead man s bones and begin to wash them Obreht writes the cracked dome of the skull, wiping down the empty sockets and the crooked lines between the teeth Then they were breaking the thighbones, sawing through them with a cleaver so that the body could not walk in death to bring sickness to the living.It is Natalia, however, the non believer, who buries the man s heart at a crossroads, thus releasing at last the soul of the dead man and bringing peace to both him and his family.Despite all the myth and folktale, to Obreht s credit, she never loses sight of themundane world in which her characters live their everyday lives Green shutters, a greenish flowera stone canal ran up past the campground Boxes in the windows, here and there a garage with a tarped car and maybe some chickens huddled on the hood There were wheelbarrows full patching bricks or cement or manure of laundry lines hung from house to house, heavy with sheets and headless shirts, pegged rows of socks A soft muzzled, black donkey was breathing softly, tied to a tree in someone s front yard.I liked the rather gloomy premise of this novel, I loved Obreht s gorgeous writing, and even though I m not a fan of myths, folktales, or fairy tales, I did like the three story strands Natalia, the tiger s wife and the deathless man that make up this book I loved the sense of place the author managed to evoke I really felt like I was in the Balkans while reading this beautiful book Still, I felt the book had some problems.I suppose what bothered me most about The Tiger s Wife was the fact the Natalia s grandfather remained littlethan a cipher in the book, yet, for me at least, he was the character around whom everything else revolved Both Natalia and her grandfather seemed, in the end, to be littlethan vehicles through which to tell the story of the tiger s wife and the story of the deathless man Those two folk stories are wonderful stories, pulsing with dark life, but it s the grandfather who anchors the book it s the grandfather I wanted to knowabout it s the grandfather we learn so little about.Yes, I realize that we turn to stories and folktales and fables in times of crises to find meaning, to stitch together unconnected events in order to understand what was happening, but I wanted to understand what was happening to Natalia and most especially, to Natalia s grandfather For me, Obreht didn t use the two folktales to stitch together the life of the fascinating character that was Natalia s grandfather Maybe Obreht is telling us that she believes that even those we love the most remain unknowable I m not sure I just felt it was wrong to set us up for something and then leave us hanging, for we never learn why Natalia s grandfather has such love and passion for tigers just as we never learn why he clings to his old, battered copy of Kipling s The Jungle Book Not getting to know the grandfather left me feeling I d read a gorgeously written book, but one whose emotional center was missing.In The Tiger s Wife, sadly, the parts are greater than the whole The three story strands never come together to form one beautiful, and emotionally moving, story In the end, they remain three disparate story strands They leave the reader with the sense of having read something beautiful, but also something rather pointless.The book also loses momentum, even before we reach mid point I didn t feel this was because the author was juggling three separate story strands she seems to juggle separate story strands without trouble but because the two folktales never seem to mesh well enough with the story of Natalia and her grandfather.It s Natalia s grandfather, himself, who tells us, after he and his granddaughter have just witnessed an elephant wandering the streets of the City, that moments are meant to be cherished, that You have to think carefully about where you tell it and to whom Who deserves to hear it Maybe, I wondered, Obreht felt that her readers were not worthy of hearing Natalia s grandfather s story in full Maybe she felt we were only worthy of knowing Natalia s grandfather obliquely, though the stories of the tiger s wife and the deathless man If that s the case, then I feel bad, not for me, but for Natalia s grandfather, for he seemed to be a man whose spirit was generous to a fault, a man who would want his story to be told and to live on.And that is the big failing of this book Obreht is, in many ways, a marvelous writer, even a luminous one But in the end, people are interested in people Though the folktales were interesting, without the character of the grandfather, they ring hollow While the grandfather remained in the background, and the folktales took center stage, it should have been the other way around Yes, The Tiger s Wife is filled with beautiful writing, and it is art, but this reader wanted a little less art and a lothumanity.3 5Recommended The book gives us a beautiful sense of place, and at times, the prose is so good it s luminous The book is definitely arty, but I wanted a little less art and a lothumanity The three stars are for the beautiful evocation of place and atmosphere, and for the lovely writing Sadly, the story told, as is, is only worth one star to me You may be different, but I neededof the grandfather I do feel Obreht has a very bright future, and I m looking forward tofrom her It s rare to find such sophisticated writing in one still so young Read my reviews and writing tips on literarycornercafe.blogspot.com