Friday, June 28, 2013

The Tiger's Wife by: Téa Obreht

The Tiger's Wife: A Novel - Tea Obreht    In 2010, Téa Obreht was recognized by the New Yorker as one of their "5 Under 35" author honorees. The next year, Obreht would go on to win the  Orange Prize for Fiction and became a National Book Award Finalist. Téa Obreht has made herself known in the book world for her debut novel, The Tiger's Wife, which follows the life of a young doctor, Natalia.
      Trying to pin-point what the novel is about is difficult task. On one hand, it’s a story about a young doctor who is reminiscing on her beloved grandfather’s life while trying to understand it as well. On the other hand, it’s about the tiger’s wife and it’s even about a deathless man, both myths that haunt the Balkan country.
       Natalia and her lifelong friend, Zora, are administering vaccines to orphans in a Balkan country when she begins to feel that her hosts are hiding something from her. It doesn't take Natalia too long to realize that the small town is full of secret-superstitions no one dares to talk about.
       In the mist of trying to uncover the source of the strangeness in the Balkan country, Natalia can't help but recall the superstitions that surround her own recently deceased grandfather. Using his old copy of The Jungle Book, and the stories he told her as a child, Natalia tries to piece together the mysteries behind her grandfather's death. He knew he was dying, so why would he travel so far away from home? Why would this elderly, famed physician lie about where he was going?
            With the tale of the deathless man eating away at her thoughts, Natalia knows she has to dive deeper into the mythology that lingers in her world. The answers she finds are anything but normal.

     Overall, I like to think the novel is about family and hidden stories that only some are lucky enough to understand. Obreht has done a wonderful job weaving together life stories of the people of a Balkan country and captivating mythology. Her talent for story-telling is evident, it’s safe to say there will be many more, anticipated novels by Obreht. The Tiger's Wife is a truly beautiful tale to get lost in.