527 of 596 people found the following review helpful
not what was predicted,
This review is from: The Tiger's Wife: A Novel (Hardcover)
I certainly have read worse books in my life, but few have been as disappointing. This is not entirely the author's fault, since she and her book have been so publicized and honored prior to arrival that expectations were extraordinarily high. The novel is, however, "OK," a far cry from the praise pre-pub comments trumpeted. What is refreshing about the book is that we at least have an author who knows how to craft a careful sentence and cares as much about how she tells a story as the story itself. The fantastical elements, noted in other reviews, also are signs of a fertile imagination. Unfortunately, neither of these strengths quite overcomes the weaknesses, of which I would cite two primarily: 1) the primary narrative asks us to be emotionally moved by the death of the narrator's grandfather, but we really do not know any of the main present-day characters in enough depth to share their loss. In fact, despite the good will of the narrator (she's a doctor trying to help sick orphans!), she comes off as whiny and self-involved; 2) on the other hand, the parts of the narrative that show real strength, in which the novel turns toward folklore in stories about the titular tiger's wife or the deathless man, end up overwhelming so much with details that we begin to wish the stories to come to an end. The imagination, in other words, seems to have run amok. A great steak doesn't taste better by adding more of it to the plate. (If you've read a lot of Rushdie over the years, you might also tire more quickly of these passages, as they are reminiscent of much of his work.) It's nice to see an author with a big imagination and fine skill with words get published; it's just unfortunate that that imagination and skill didn't result in a novel that lived up to its potential, or its hype.
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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 18, 2011 9:14:40 AM PDT
Oh dear me! I appreciate your review - very well written and helpful. Ah, a thoughtful reader thinks I. But when I look at your other 10 reviews all of them are negative. What do you think is a fine book? That is what I am searching for.
Posted on Jul 23, 2011 5:16:41 PM PDT
I totally agree about the present day narrative, but I thought the flashbacks to the grandfather's childhood were compelling.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2011 6:39:35 PM PDT
T. V. OBrien says:
I think "me" reviews this poetry anthology quite positively (four stars):
The Best American Poetry 2008: Series Editor David Lehman, Guest Editor Charles Wright
Posted on Jul 30, 2011 8:51:13 PM PDT
A. Fisher says:
I absolutely agree with you, with one exception I would only give this book a 1 star. I couldn't even manage to get through the book without either falling asleep or picking up something else to read. You never get wrapped into the main character, you can't understand the relationship with her deceased grandfather (since he died before you meet him). For all the hype definitely not worth the time or money.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2011 6:16:58 PM PDT
Ian McEwan's "Atonement," if you can stand to have your heart ripped out.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2011 4:08:34 AM PDT
S. Miraglia says:
Great to have on the nightstand as a substitute for a sleeping pill. Two stars, lol!
Posted on Oct 24, 2011 11:01:56 AM PDT
I couldn't agree less with this reviewer's comment about wishing the stories that tend toward folklore would come to an end. On the contrary, I found myself enchanted and wishing that I could write as well. I am only halfway through the book, but so far it's something I look forward jealously to coming back to. I will review when I finish it, because a bad or disappointing ending can ruin the whole experience. And I agree about hype that precedes many fiction authors being promoted by the bit publishing houses, but so far, this book seems to merit the effort. (See discussion of bad endings under "Edgar Sawtell."
Posted on Oct 26, 2011 3:53:29 PM PDT
Margaret Kirk says:
I was grossly disappointed. While the author does have promise and there were moments in the book that I found grand...I was disappointed. The hype was unfair (to us and her) and I feel unmerited. The violence was brutal! All in all when I was done, I regretted wasting the time.
Posted on Dec 10, 2011 12:49:58 AM PST
Romy Reads says:
Wish I had read your review before I read the book. What a disappointment it was!
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2011 7:47:34 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 10, 2011 7:49:11 AM PST]