Verdict: Try it.
While in an unnamed Balkan country with her mission team to help inoculate children at an orphanage, Natalia, a young doctor, must battle against village superstition and secrets. She also hopes to uncover secrets infecting her own life: particularly the secrets hidden within the final days of her grandfather’s life, who was also a doctor, and those mysteries contained in two supernatural stories he told.
While The Tiger’s Wife may not sound action packed enough for some readers, it is remarkably compelling, especially when the telling of Natalia’s grandfather’s stories is in the spotlight (“The Tiger’s Wife” and “The Deathless Man”). These are some of the most fascinating stories I have ever read. And that’s not an exaggeration. I’ve thought about at least one them every day for the past three or four weeks. Obreht’s prose perfectly captures, the mystery, horror, and suspense of the competing elements of nature and the supernatural in her work. The main characters are also immensely rich.
The place where one might find fault with The Tiger’s Wife is in it’s main plot. If you are not interested in Balkan history or you want something tightly packaged, this may not be the book for you (neither of these concerns applied to me). At the same time I say, “Try it.” There is no doubt in my mind that this 26 year old is a master of words and a fabulous storyteller. You would be missing out if you didn’t give it a shot.