Friday, 4 January 2013

More Good Books from Last Year: The Tiger's Wife

The Tiger's Wife by  Téa Obrecht can be read as a fable, a memoir or an observation on the wars of belief and self-interest that marked the last several centuries and cast a long shadow on this one. 

Here's the official plot synopsis: "In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself."

Elin suggested it, but I remembered reading an excellent story by Obrecht in The Best American Short Stories of 2010,  "The Laugh" which takes place worlds away on the African savannah.  That was more than enough to start the book, but which blew me away was the way this young writer is able to take material which she probably doesn't know first hand and transform it into stories of depth and fascination.

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