Tag Archive | The Tigers Wife

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht

‘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.

I don’t think I would have chosen this book myself – when I read what it was about I thought it would be quite depressing (set in the Balkans during and after the wars there), but it was chosen for my book group. Each month one of the four of us chooses a few books and the rest of us decide which one we want to read. The other 2 choices were kicked out by other people, so this it was.

I loved it, but then what isn’t to love about a book that has a man getting his arm chewed off by a tiger in the zoo in the first chapter? I don’t think of myself as someone who like anything like that, but for some reason it really drew me in. When I think more about it, some of the thriller novels I love are pretty graphic (Random by Craig Robertson anyone?). This wasn’t a thriller though, it was a literary novel.

I loved the characters, especially the MC’s Grandfather, who you know as a cute little boy with a new found love of tigers, through when he was a young doctor, and then to when he was an old man, with a life long love of tigers.

The story jumps about a lot, so when you start each chapter you have no idea which story it’s going to be telling. I found that off putting to start with, but got used to it pretty quickly; it was good for stopping reading at bedtime – I couldn’t carry on with the next chapter to find out what happened next, because the next chapter was leading on from another story.

This was Tea Obreht’s first novel, I hope it’s not her last. I totally can see why it won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2011 and I’d totally recommend it to anyone (in fact I have already).

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Wednesday’s Check-In – 18th Jan

I really should be writing, but seeing as a check-in is due today, I’ve decided to write a blog instead of my novel. Naughty me. Still, writing is writing, right? (I don’t believe that myself, but hopefully you will!).

I finished The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht tonight. I was reading it for my real life book club (as opposed to online one at www.novelkicks.co.uk). We take it in turns to choose the novel we read, and this one wouldn’t have been my choice. However, I really enjoyed it. Book review to follow! On Obreht’s website, the novel is described as a mystery why the MC’s Grandfather left home when he did and visited the place he did. Going from that description, I could use it for the Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge. I didn’t think of it as a mystery really, so am torn on whether to count it or not. Maybe I will, but make sure I read 13, you know, just to make sure!

I’ve also been to the gym tonight. I burnt 350 calories in 28 minutes. Result!

My eating today has been pretty good – 1455 calories – only 55 more than my goal. Add that to the 350 burnt at the gym and I’m well under (maybe that explains why I’m so hungry).

Looking at my chart for eating over the last few days, I can see I’ve had 3 yellow and 1 red day. I was quite unhappy about that because I really want more green days (below 1400), but then I thought about what it really means. Yellow is 1400 – 1750 calories. Apparently, because I’m short, I need 1750 calories a day to maintain my weight, therefore every yellow day where I’m eating less, I lose a little weight. Woop!

Exercise is going very well this week too – green days Monday – Wednesday. Since the beginning of the year I’ve now lost 4lb. It’s not masses, but hopefully because I’m doing it slowly, and using exercise AND a healthy diet – rather than a faddy diet – I’ll lose more and keep it off. Maybe I could even get back down to 17lb lower – where I was in spring 2010!

Reading’s going ok this week. Green today and yesterday, yellow on Monday. I need to chose a new book to read to carry on with this – another really good book would be awesome, I’ve had 4 really good books this year. No, 3 sorry. 3/4? I can’t remember. 3. That’s good!

Writing then. Well.

I wrote 591 words on Monday night. I totally didn’t have time before bed, but I thought maybe I’d just write 100 (my test mile) before boyfriend came to bed too. He faffed and I got 491 more than I planned. Woop. Last night we’d had dinner, I was just reading and about to come to the bedroom to write, when… we had a power cut. Oh no! It lasted an hour, by which time I’d gone to bed. When everything came back up, I was too cold to get back up for the laptop. I read instead.

Tonight I gymed, ate, washed up, showered, and now I’m in bed. Writing a blog. I’m going to write some of my novel – at least 500 words. I know I can do it.

How’s everyone else’s ROW80 going? If you’re not doing ROW80, how’s everything else going?

*Update – 590 written tonight – that’s a green day!*

January Books Clubs

Last month, having gone from none, I got myself involved in two book clubs, and it seems I’ve done the same again this month.

A friend of mine, her sister and work colleague decided in November to start a book club, so December was month one. We read Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto, which unfortunately none of us enjoyed. I chose that book (I needed a Y for the A to Z Challenge), this time it was B’s turn to choose. Like me she gave the rest of us a choice, and we decided on The Tigers Wife by Tea Obreht. It sounds slightly depressing, but hey, I’ll give anything a go. I’ll read that after the next one, our next meeting isn’t until 25th, so loads of time!

The second book club is at NovelKicks, a website that my ROW80 buddy Laura runs. A year, or maybe 18 months ago, I tried to get involved in the NK book club, but at the time they were reading The Little Stranger by Sarah Walters. I got the book, I tried, but it just bored me. I promised myself I’d get involved the following month, but you know me, life got in the way.

Last month I saw Laura had chosen The Gift by Cecelia Ahern for the book. As it happened that was on my TBR pile, and I wanted to read it around Christmas. I joined in. Well, I commented that I’d started it, and I read the book. No more comments. How rubbish am I?!

I promised myself if I got involved again, I’d do better. This month the chosen book is When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman – a book that I’ve wanted to read since it came out last year (I’m not sure if it’s because it’s got a wicked title, or the actual story). Of course I’m joining in again. This time, I promise I’m going to join in with NK and comment! That’s the next book on my list. If you’re interested in joining, please do, everyone is welcome, Laura would love to see you HERE.

I’ve nearly finished Petit Anglaise. Yesterday I arranged to meet my other half in the library before we went shopping (gym clothes, not all that exciting). There were no computers free, so I sat in one of the chairs (that isn’t as comfy as it looks) and read for half an hour. It was great. I can’t wait until summer, so there’s a nice view of the water from the library (Canada Water water – the water the whole area was named after – small, but cute with swans and ducks and stuff!).