April Meeting

For our meeting on Wed 4 April, we read The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht.

Jacket Synopsis:
‘Having sifted through everything I have heard about the tiger and his wife, I can tell you that this much is fact: in April of 1941, without declaration or warning, the German bombs started falling over the city and did not stop for three days. The tiger did not know that they were bombs…’

A tiger escapes from the local zoo, padding through the ruined streets and onwards, to a ridge above the Balkan village of Galina. His nocturnal visits hold the villagers in a terrified thrall. But for one boy, the tiger is a thing of magic – Shere Khan awoken from the pages of The Jungle Book. Natalia is the granddaughter of that boy. Now a doctor, she is visiting orphanages after another war has devastated the Balkans. On this journey, she receives word of her beloved grandfather’s death, far from their home, in circumstances shrouded in mystery.

From fragments of stories her grandfather told her as a child, Natalia realises he may have died searching for ‘the deathless man’, a vagabond who was said to be immortal. Struggling to understand why a man of science would undertake such a quest, she stumbles upon a clue that will lead her to a tattered copy of The Jungle Book, and then to the extraordinary story of the tiger’s wife.

[xrr rating=3/5]

1 thought on “April Meeting”

  1. Scoring our lowest star rating to date at 3 stars, voting for The Tiger’s Wife ranged from 2.5 to 3.5 stars. It’s a book that divided opinion at the book club, thereby resulting in much discussion. One member felt it was a “little too heavy on fantasy and a little too light on character development”, whilst another member liked the book for its “magical realism”. Perhaps the flaw wasn’t so much underdevelopment of characters, but perhaps overdevelopment of secondary characters, diverting attention away from the main plot. The group loved the character of The Tiger’s Wife, and were intrigued but frustrated by the Deathless Man. All agreed it was a very impressive debut and an original meditation on war from such a young author. In fact, Téa Obreht was awarded the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011 for this novel. Worth reading in a book club context.

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