Tag Archives: Novel

Review: The Tiger’s Wife

The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel is authored by Tea Obreht which is filled with the surprising moments inside it. There have been introduced small-small scenes full of wondrous moments, presence of power, beauty and sense of wisdom. In this novel the author tried to explain about the human context to luminous life. Natalia an adult doctor, she is moving from here to there across the unknown places to delivering the medicines when think about her dead grandfather starts to grieve and remembers the lessons that he taught her and the stories he told her. The stories told by her grandfather were not based on the centre theme as death. But these include how the person faced death, how they fear and how it is embraced. The first question that arises in to my mind is that in this novel at every moments death is focused with fear, trouble and embracing nature, why it is so? As I think it is the central theme of the novel to put ideas and vision about the death through the various stages of death. I love to read this novel again and again as it gives me the pleasure to know about the wonderful moments inside it.  Death is everywhere, you cannot escape from it but yes you can make your death as live for forever.

In this novel the representation of the death is nice, it can be by anyways, it can be due to war, it can be through disease, it can be by animal and it may be due to man and child. But in this novel there is a counterpart of the death as presented by the Author as a character that cannot die and thus the story told by grandfather goes on.  Death is itself another virtual character in this novel ‘The Tiger’s Wife’ which has been presented as devil here. Devil as a character in this novel seem as little bit obscure as a character like in Grandfather’s story of else’s uncle who is suspected of disguising an artful or simulated semblance of a tiger by others. Definitely, the symbol as Tiger is also a force of death, which fears to others but tiger’s wife doesn’t fear. This explains in this novel that for a life fear is necessary but it should be for right things. Finally, if I can talk about the theme of the novel then it totally surrounded by death as it is a subject matter of this novel. In meaning full sense if ask for the answer as mentioned above then it must be the same. As everyone has fear of death, it might be in different ways, but they have. The most beautiful thing of the novel is to present the characters as in live form and the circumstances happened there as seem as natural. Surely, the author has put his whole intentions to attract the readers not only for words written inside it but the theme inside the novel which will make them to think more themselves so that they can connect with the novel.

Look in to the 1990s years back to that time, and think about the wars happened that time in former Yugoslavia, with their profusion of names that are difficult to pronounce and acts that are painful to recall: the massacres at Brcko and Srebrenica, the bombing of bread lines in Sarajevo, the destruction of Mostar’s 400-year-old bridge. In this novel the author didn’t mention any of these as earlier discussed in her first novel. But in this novel ‘The Tiger’s Wife’ she wrote about the historical and human context which reflects their luminous life. She illustrated many examples inside it for the ancient history and meaningful conversations to make it more live and effective. She included the fables and allegories in the novel, she also mentioned about some specific events in the novel.  The complexities of Balkan history and its cause or ways of suspicion, an irrational belief arising from ignorance or fear and continuous violence present there even there is peace that time. Have you looked or studied about the Second World War? If not, then it is better to study it as the author has described about the death caused by Second World War and the wars before this Second World War.

In this novel, in a tale written by her named as ‘Luka’, she has used metaphor which describes the achievement of the author. Luka is character in this tale as son of a brooding butcher who has high dream. He lives in small mountain village called as Galina. After the World war first, he left his village and moved 350 miles away from there, near a river port names as Sarobor. Where he thought to master the Gusla, which is a kind of single string instrument. When he reaches there, he finds the music he wants to master is no more in existing there but it has been shaped in to another form as rollicking which is a modern tune and is played by lusty music brands there. But soon he searched a person who was old but the old person was master of the old and traditional songs. He learnt the traditional songs there and acquires the old art form that old man.  But in general he prefers the traditional lyrics rather than music. One woman asked him that why he not plays an instrument that has more string, and why he plays with a instrument of single string. Luka answered in a very nice way as “Fifty strings sing one song, but this single string knows a thousand stories.” This means that all the fifty strings in the instrument will sing a one song at a time but this with only string will play a thousand songs.

Thus from this tale stated in the novel clearly explains that how that boy learns the traditional songs or music. He does not learn the modern songs or lyrics but he enjoys the old lyrics. This shows that the boy doesn’t have the fear of the things in front of him but he want to learn what he want or for what he came there. In Second World War, the death may happen, it is a fear there but the dream should be fulfilled.

The author in this novel mentioned about the different aspects of the life in real ways, and tried to represent like there will always be the flow of the story and the reader can understand the story behind it and connect to himself to the flow of the story. I might also think that the author tries to figure out each moment to be wonderful and mysterious. Each story in the novel is explained as narrator of the author instead of a research.  Natalia Stefanovic a young daughter who belongs to Balkan city which is unnamed to the people, outside of that, she lives with her family. In her family there are four members as her own mother, grandfather and grandmother. This has been mentioned in the story in the novel as she lives in 21st century. She generally likes to see herself engaging in delivering of medicines across the broader and always tries to be with the persons who are not much old fashioned and not much rational to be cowed, neither the person should be too modern. She thinks that the person whom she should mix up must be not too old fashioned or not to be too modern.

She prefers Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. Her father was a respectable doctor and a professor and was found of visiting the zoos o regular basis which was formerly a sultan’s a fortified defensive structure. Doctor always went to visit there A building where birds are kept and where owl sleep in day, and alongside with it to the moat where the tigers were moving easily here and there and observed them closely. As mentioned in the quote in the novel by author as  “Past the aviary where the sharp-eared owls sleep,” This means that the doctor always went there with his granddaughter to see the close activities and their life in Zoo especially of the tiger. The doctor always told her the stories of death, fear and she started to listen rapt there. Her grandfather told her a story about a girl who as knows as the Tiger’s wife. That time her granddaughter thought that this is a story of a fairy tale, as because her grandfather always handed her a story books written by Rudyard Kipling named as “Jungle Book”. She always though as her grandfathers is a fount of fantasy as her a private lyric poet.

In this novel “The Tiger’s Wife,” Obreht explains that she always think as a richy colored silk like a mental impression retained and recalled from the past in the modern coming age of Natalia.  Thus I can say that in this part of the story Natalia learnt from her grandfather a lot of stories revolving around the death, fear and embracement.  Also the story moves ahead and states that at time when she was very young or teenagers, there has been a war there in the place called as Balkans and all destroyed. The zoo closed, and the surrounding area was like a curfew that time. She and many other friends who lived there found themselves a s now lonely and in the mild lawlessness. Thus in the mod of Natalia the fear came in and she then started to think about the stories told by her grandfather and she grieved. But one day when she missed her grandfather he dearest and reliable friend, she grieved a lot that night and she missed him a lot. Then she started to follow his each tale and sentences told to her at the young age.  But she didn’t know the meaning of the sentences said by her grandfather before the war.

As I see is that she learnt a lot form her grandfather but now she is following them after the war where nothing is left and everywhere there is death, fear. She followed her grandfather in each street, each dark areas, but could not find him. Instead of it while moving she saw that there is an elephant that has lost or ran from the circus where he was used to work, the elephant came out of circus to the streets of the city and now there in the city everyone was fear of death because of animal. But when she thought to tell to her friends then she realized that none of her friends will listen to her.  “None of my friends will ever believe it,” she exclaims in regret. Her friends will think that she is making them fool or even her grandfather will say the same. If her grandfather will be there he would suggest her that the war that happened there is not because of the only few person involved in it but it belongs to everyone who either involved in writing the newspapers, publishing the stories, politicians and also the people who have never ever heard of the place and war before, everyone is included in this war.  She had to think that where she should tell her story or this incident happened there; she has to decide by herself. She has to think who would like to listen this or who deserves to hear this story?  This question will itself transform her thought like a bard because now she tells the story to others and it seems like fairy tell to them.

I would like to say that this novel created a very good impact of the death and fear surrounded to the characters in the novel. There are many characters in the novel but of Natalia, her grandfather, and death as ghost is most important. The wondrous moments inside the novel are quite good and surprising. The whole novel seems as completely full of death, and fear.