Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Tiger's Wife

Obreht, T. (2011). The tiger’s wife. New York, NY: Random House.

*I received this book for free as a first reads winner on goodreads.

Genre: Historical Fiction, Adult Fiction

Natalia, a doctor, shares stories that she remembers from her grandfather as she goes on a journey of her own to better understand her deceased grandfather and the fable of the tiger’s wife.

I was thrilled to begin reading this book because the premise of the story was enticing, touching, and I was interested in the bond between Natalia and her deceased grandfather. 

However, the slow story development kept me from being pulled into the story. It took me nearly six months to read more than a few pages at a time. And honestly, “slow” is a fairly nice term…painful is more accurate. Don’t get me wrong, Obreht is a great storyteller and the writing was much better than some of the authors I have read but The Tiger’s Wife lacked character development, cohesiveness, and emotion from Natalia. 

For me, the most meaningful aspect of the book was when Natalia shared her childhood memories of spending time with her grandfather and his stories, especially his tellings of the “deathless man”. Obreht’s approach to flip back and forth between Natalia’s present and the grandfather’s stories was a bit disjointed but it did reinforce the similarities of the two and their paths of doctor-hood (at the sake of the book’s flow and readability).

Disappointing. If I had to describe my reading experience of The Tiger’s Wife, disappointing would be the word. Natalia’s character is not deep enough to unravel a magical legend. Or maybe it is the writing that makes me feel this way…the sentences were good but they lose their value when placed together so poorly. Hmmm…regardless, I do think there is much to gain from reading this novel and I would recommend this book to anyone looking to read something challenging and different.

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