The Tiger's Wife
Front cover of US edition
|Publisher||Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Random House (US)
|Media type||Print (hardcover), audiobook, eBook|
|Pages||337 (first edition)|
|LC Class||PS3615.B73 T54 2011|
The Tiger's Wife is set in an unnamed Balkan country, spanning the mid 20th-century to the early 21st century. It features a young doctor's relationship with her grandfather and the stories he tells her, primarily about the 'deathless man' who meets him several times in different places and never changes, and a deaf-mute girl from his childhood village who befriends a tiger that has escaped from a zoo.
The novel was largely written while Obreht was at Cornell University, and was excerpted in The New Yorker in June 2009. Asked to summarize it by a university journalist, Obreht replied, "It's a family saga that takes place in a fictionalized province of the Balkans. It’s about a female narrator and her relationship to her grandfather, who's a doctor. It's a saga about doctors and their relationships to death throughout all these wars in the Balkans."
The poet Charles Simic wrote in The New York Review of Books giving his endorsement to the view that "this is a remarkable first novel." He went on to say: "Téa Obreht is an extraordinarily talented writer, skilled at combining different types of narrative — from objective depiction of events to stories mixing the fabulous and the real — in a way that brings to mind the novels of Mikhail Bulgakov, Gabriel García Márquez, and Milorad Pavić, the Serbian author of Dictionary of the Khazars. According to the New Zealand Herald, "Reviewers have praised Obreht's vibrant imagery and skilful interweaving of fact and folklore, ritual and superstition. British paper the Sunday Times dubbed her 'a compelling new voice'; its rival the Daily Telegraph 'a natural born storyteller'." New York Times reviewer Liesl Schillinger praised the novel, saying it was "filled with astonishing immediacy and presence, fleshed out with detail that seems firsthand."
The Tiger's Wife won the British Orange Prize for Fiction in 2011. The annual prize, recognising "excellence, originality and accessibility in women's writing from throughout the world", then included £30,000 cash and the "Bessie", a limited edition bronze figurine. At 25, Obreht was the youngest ever winner of the Orange Prize at the time of her award.
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