Book Review: The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht (3/5)

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Rating: 3 Stars

Target: Historical/Contemporary Fiction with a Touch of Magical Realism for Adults

Category: The Author Had Potential and There Were Parts I Loved But the Entireity of the Book Didn’t Quite Come Together the Way I Wish it Had

Writerly thoughts: Tea Obreht, a first-generation immigrant, wrote this novel while she was in college. I have a soft spot in my heart for immigrant writings and a soft spot for the writings of college kids. I desperately wanted to love The Tiger’s Wife, but unfortunately the novel as a whole lacks a little infrastructure.

On the bright side, Tea Obreht definitely has the inner workings of a talented writer – her work speaks lyrically and is filled with musings about life and people. I loved her descriptions of people. She writes about them in an unconventional and ultimately memorable way. The anecdotes about different people seem almost folklorish in the way they’re scattered as interconnected storylines across the span of the book.

Next to these anecdotes, the main storyline (about a young female doctor whose grandfather does) pales considerably. While I admired the unanswered questions, I wanted to know more about the (possibly homosexual) Luka and his suicidal fairy of girl – they seemed to me like a twisted and platonic version Romeo and Juliet. I wanted to know about the childhood of the tragic, death-obsessed Darisa and his sister Magdalena. The jumping around between storylines didn’t quite work for me. I think I would have liked it better as a collection of short fictions.

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