Tuesday, September 18

Bibliophile: The Tiger's Wife

The Tiger's Wife, Tea Obrecht

This spent a whopping 33 weeks on the NPR's best-seller's list, and damned if I know why. I wonder if everyone else read it because of the hype and finished it like "...oh." Here's your blurb:

Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Téa Obreht has spun a timeless novel that will establish her as one of the most vibrant, original authors of her generation.

In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death.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. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself “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.

I truly don't know what the point of this story was. I didn't like the narrator at all; she was whiny and self-absorbed and shared all her worst traits way too early in the story. In fact, the only part of the story I was drawn to and engaged by were the stories told by her grandfather, which came up every few chapters and were mystical and moral and creative. If pressed, I would say she's a good writer- as in, maybe if someone gave her an awesome and inventive plot, she could churn out a wonderful book, because her way with words is artistic and clear. But, like I said, I had no emotion for the bratty narrator or her unknown-to-me grandfather, who I think I was supposed to feel for from page one.

I do feel bad to be so disappointed- it's not the author's fault that critics praised this to the moon, but I really didn't enjoy it, and were it not for my conviction that every book begun must be finished I would have put it down.

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