The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht is a beautifully written novel. Natalia is a doctor with a special, close relationship with her grandfather. She is the only other person (besides himself) who knows about his cancer diagnosis, and he dies. When she finds herself administering vaccinations to orphans in a very close proximity to where her grandfather died, Natalia is drawn to the city and to her grandfather’s story.
The Tiger’s Wife follows the life of Natalia and her grandfather, from childhood to adulthood. It is mythical, but realistic at the same time.
While I was reading, I kept comparing The Tiger’s Wife to other novels that I’ve read recently that seemed to have similar themes or ideas. So I thought I’d give the comparisons:
- The Round House by Louise Erdrich – Both stories have a grandfather who tells about a potentially spiritual situation.
- I am an Executioner: Love Stories by Rajesh Parameswaran – One of the stories in I am an Executioner dealt with a tiger who escapes from captivity after “loving” his trainer to death. The Tiger’s Wife also had an escaped tiger who ended up “in love” with a woman in the story that Natalia’s grandfather knew when he was a child.
- Swamplandia! by Karen Russell – Both Swamplandia! and The Tiger’s Wife deal with the potential for a ghost or spiritual being, but in a very realistic way, not in a cheesy way with ghosts opening and shutting doors. They left the ideas out there for the possibility, but also left other options for some of the situations as well. In addition, the stories deal with taming the wild animals (alligators, tigers) and family issues.
All in all, a good read!
If you could have an exotic pet, what would you choose?