368 pages, 7.99 × 5.15 × 0.94 in
November 1, 2011
Random House Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0385343841
ISBN - 13: 9780385343848
About the Book
Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Obreht, the youngest of "The New Yorker's" 20 best American fiction writers under 40, spins a timeless novel about a young doctor who confronts the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather's recent death.
Read from the Book
1The Coastthe forty days of the soul begin on the morning after death. That first night, before its forty days begin, the soul lies still against sweated-on pillows and watches the living fold the hands and close the eyes, choke the room with smoke and silence to keep the new soul from the doors and the windows and the cracks in the floor so that it does not run out of the house like a river. The living know that, at daybreak, the soul will leave them and make its way to the places of its past—the schools and dormitories of its youth, army barracks and tenements, houses razed to the ground and rebuilt, places that recall love and guilt, difficulties and unbridled happiness, optimism and ecstasy, memories of grace meaningless to anyone else—and sometimes this journey will carry it so far for so long that it will forget to come back. For this reason, the living bring their own rituals to a standstill: to welcome the newly loosed spirit, the living will not clean, will not wash or tidy, will not remove the soul’s belongings for forty days, hoping that sentiment and longing will bring it home again, encourage it to return with a message, with a sign, or with forgiveness.If it is properly enticed, the soul will return as the days go by, to rummage through drawers, peer inside cupboards, seek the tactile comfort of its living identity by reassessing the dish rack and the doorbell and the telephone, reminding itself of functionality, all the time touching things that produce sound a
From the Publisher
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Wall Street Journal • O: The Oprah Magazine • The Economist • Vogue • Slate • Chicago Tribune • The Seattle Times • Dayton Daily News • Publishers Weekly • Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considered
SELECTED ONE OF THE TOP 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times • Entertainment Weekly • The Christian Science Monitor • The Kansas City Star • Library Journal
In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.
Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.
About the Author
Téa Obreht was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia in 1985 and has lived in the United States since the age of twelve. Her writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The Guardian, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She has been named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty and included in the National Book Foundation’s list of 5 Under 35. Téa Obreht lives in New York.
“Stunning . . . a richly textured and searing novel.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times“Spectacular . . . [Téa Obreht] spins a tale of such marvel and magic in a literary voice so enchanting that the mesmerized reader wants her never to stop. [Grade:] A”—Entertainment Weekly“[Obreht] has a talent for subtle plotting that eludes most writers twice her age, and her descriptive powers suggest a kind of channeled genius. . . . No novel [this year] has been more satisfying.”—The Wall Street Journal “Filled with astonishing immediacy and presence, fleshed out with detail that seems firsthand, The Tiger’s Wife is all the more remarkable for being the product not of observation but of imagination.”—The New York Times Book Review “That The Tiger’s Wife never slips entirely into magical realism is part of its magic. . . . Its graceful commingling of contemporary realism and village legend seems even more absorbing.”—The Washington Post “So rich with themes of love, legends and mortality that every novel that comes after it this year is in peril of falling short in comparison with its uncanny beauty.”—Time“Mesmerizing . . . [Tea] Obreht’s striking ability to explain the world through stories is matched by her patience with the parts of life—and death—that endlessly confound us.”—The Boston Globe“Makes for a thrilling beginning to what will certainly be a great literary career.”—Elle“A compelling, persuasive writer, Obreht brings improbable elements to life on the page. Better, she
1. Natalia says that the key to her grandfather’s life and death
“lies between two stories: the story of the tiger’s wife, and the
story of the deathless man.” What power do the stories we tell
about ourselves have to shape our identity and help us understand
2. Which of the different ways the characters go about making
peace with the dead felt familiar from your own life? Which
took you by surprise?
3. Natalia believes that her grandfather’s memories of the village
apothecary “must have been imperishable.” What lesson do
you think he might have learned from what happened to the
4. What significance does the tiger have to the different characters
in the novel: Natalia, her grandfather, the tiger’s wife, the
villagers? Why do you think Natalia’s grandfather’s reaction to
the tiger’s appearance in the village was so different than the
rest of the villagers?
5. “The story of this war—dates, names, who started it, why—
that belongs to everyone,” Natalia’s grandfather tells her. But
“those moments you keep to yourself” are more important. By
eliding place names and specific events of recent Balkan history,
what do you think the author is doing?
6. When the deathless man and the grandfather share a last
meal before the bombing of Sarobor, the grandfather urges the
deathless man to tell the waiter his fate so he can go home and
be with his family. Is Gavran Gailé right to decide to stop
telling people that they are going to die? Would you rather
know your death was coming or go “in suddenness”?
7. Did knowing more about Luka’s past make him more sympathetic?
Why do you think the author might have chosen to
give the back stories of Luka, Dariša the Bear, and the apothecary?
8. The copy of The Jungle Book Natalia’s grandfather always
carries around in his coat pocket is not among the possessions
she collects after his death. What do you think happens to it?
9. The novel moves back and forth between myth and modern-
day “real life.” What did you think of the juxtaposition of
folklore and contemporary realism?
10. Of all the themes of this novel—war, storytelling, family,
death, myth, etc.—which one resonated the most for you?