Téa Obreht has already been named one of the New Yorker’s twenty best American Writer’s under 40 (the youngest in fact) and her short work will be featured in new editions of The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading, so it’s really no surprise that her first novel THE TIGER’S WIFE is getting the kind of buzz it’s getting.
Here’s a brief synopsis of the book:
n 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.
But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.
Grief struck and searching for clues to her grandfather’s final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. On their weeklytrips to the zoo he would read to her from a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which he carried with him everywhere; later, he told her stories of his own encounters over many years with “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal and appeared never to age. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself. One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence: a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness. “These stories,” Natalia comes to understand, “run like secret rivers through all the other stories” of her grandfather’s life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for.
The Reviewers Say:
“[A] spectacular debut novel…[Téa] Obreht spins a tale of such marvel and magic in a literary voice so enchanting that the mesmerizing reader wants her never to stop…Obreht will make headlines as one of the most exciting new writers of her generation…”
– Entertainment Weekly
“Ms. Obreht…writes with remarkable authority and eloquence, and she demonstrates an uncommon ability to move seamlessly between the gritty realm of the real and the more primary-colored world of the fable. [She] has not only made a precocious debut, but she has also written a richly textured and searing novel.”
– Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Tea Obreht’s swirling first novel…draws us beneath the clotted tragedies in the Balkans to deliver the kind of truth that histories can’t touch. Born in Belgrade in 1985…she captures the thirst for consecration that a century of war has left in that bloody part of the world. It’s a novel of enormous ambitions that manages in its modest length to contain the conflicts between Christians and Muslims, Turks and Ottomans, science and superstition.”
– Ron Charles, The Washington Post
All Things Téa:
Wanna know more about this hot new author? Check out her website at http://www.teaobreht.com/