ToB: The Stranger’s Child vs The Tiger’s Wife

I am on a lucky streak! Loved The Sense of an Ending, hadn’t read the other, it won! Refused to read Salvage the Bones, it lost! Just finished The Tiger’s Wife, loved it, it won! Watch out Steven! Here comes The Marriage Plot ftw! No, I sincerely think my luck will have run out by then. I want The Marriage Plot to win first round just as much as Steven wants it to lose, but I am very worried that my run will have been used up by then.

But I am happy for it to be used up on The Tiger’s Wife. Loved it. LOVED it. I literally just finished it about half an hour ago which I know always helps but still I thought it was great. It’s my new  personal Sisters Brothers. But with a better title.

The Tiger’s Wife is Natalia, a young doctor taking medical supplies across a war torn Baltic region to an orphanage. As she learns of her grandfather’s death she finds herself in a foreign landscape filled with superstition and myth and finds herself tracing her granfather’s own story, that of the woman who loved tigers so much she almost became one. As Natalia traces the story of the tiger’s wife, the deathless man and the diggers at the vineyard where she is staying, legend and reality fuse, superstition and medicine intertwine. Truth becomes lost in the mythology of the past while stories live on and provide a basis for the future

The deathless man and the tiger’s wife are both stories of fear and awe, possibility and impossibility and Tea Obreht tells them simply and lyrically. Her style effortlessly swoops from folk tale to harsh realities and past to present. She perfectly catures a plausible, passionate and not in any way twee relationship of grandfather and grandaughter. Meanwhile all this is set against a history of war and violence in the region, unobtrusive yet influential. And it’s her first novel. And she’s only 26. And she wrote it when she was 24! I am so, so jealous of her talent.

May I add that I don’t think the attacking of the judge was fair or justified at all? And as some further comments have said that sometimes judging reveals more about the person than the book, perhaps attacks on the judge reveal more about the attacker than the judge?

But I definitely recommend The Tiger’s Wife to anyone. ANYONE. Apart from being enjoyable it’s also, as Bethane Kelly Patrick comments,  significant, full of big questions and demands active reading. Steven, care to weigh in?

Steven: Nope. They’re both in store? At the wallet pleasing price of $19.99 each!

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