The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
Random House • $25 • March 8, 2011
We’ve been talking about Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife for months—since June, in fact, when Obreht was announced as the youngest person on The New Yorker‘s “20 under 40″ list. Since then, you’ve been able to read an interview with Obreht in our March issue, and go behind that interview in a guest post from BookPage contributor Alden Mudge. You’ve even learned that part of The Tiger’s Wife was composed in Starbucks. (Oh yeah, and learned that certain BookPage staffers feel a fair bit of Obreht envy.)
So. What more could I possibly write about The Tiger’s Wife, which is on sale this week? Much of this novel is about secrets, but here’s a pleasant truth that I’m happy to share with readers of The Book Case. When I started reading this novel, I expected a slow beginning, or to feel some sort of disappointment. So much hype! How could a book stack up? (For the record, I felt this way about Room. And quickly changed my mind.) But the truth I want to share is that I was very quickly drawn into The Tiger’s Wife, because Obreht immediately plants the seed of a mystery:
Why did a grandfather travel to a strange place while he was very sick—without telling his wife or beloved granddaughter—then die? (And as a doctor, he surely knew he might not survive the journey.)
Soon after you’re hooked by this scenario, you’ll find an intriguing magic-laced paragraph:
Everything 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—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. One, which I learned after his death, is the story of how my grandfather became a man; the other, which he told to me, is of how he became a child again.
Want to learn more? You’ll have to read The Tiger’s Wife.
What are you reading today?