Books, Bikes, and Food

Reviews, Recipes, Rides… and some other things, too.


Téa Obreht: The Tiger’s Wife (2011)

The Tiger’s Wife was, until recently, one of those books the entire blogosphere except me had already read. It’d been hailed by many a review as one of the most amazing recent discoveries, so I decided to give it a shot.

I was also intrigued by the setting of the novel, the post-war Balkans (which I know nothing about but would like to know more). The Tiger’s Wife weaves together different narratives. The one set in the present follows Natalia, a young doctor, on her journey across one of former Yugoslavia’s new borders in order to vaccinate children at an orphanage. On her way there, she learns that her grandfather has died under very strange circumstances in a hospital close to the village she is travelling to. So rather than turn around, she goes ahead on her vaccination trip in order to pick up his belongings which are still at the hospital. Meanwhile, she is suspended in a surreal limbo, going about her business while she comes to terms with her grandfather’s death, remembering the stories he used to tell her. The other narratives include precisely these stories, the most important one being that of the tiger’s wife, as well as memories of moments Natalia has shared with her grandfather.

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