Top positive review
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Balkan tragedy beautifully told
on October 9, 2016
An amazing book from a very young author. The story is often disjointed, as the central narrative is interrupted by episodes narrated by or remembered from the main character's grandfather. Some readers will find this irritating, but if you're in the mood for this kind of story, it's terrific.
The setting is an unnamed country several years after the war that broke up the former Yugoslavia. The narrator, a young doctor, travels across recently-created (or reestablished) borders to retrieve her grandfather's belongings after his death.
By switching between a modern, realistic narrative and a mythical or folkloric past, the author creates a portrait of a country and a culture that has been changed, perhaps destroyed. The title story, The Tiger's Wife, is perhaps a little too filled with pathos. I think the author reveals her youth here by making the violence and the abuse the characters suffer extreme, horrific. But it's similar to the content of fairy tales (the unexpurgated versions) and meant to be symbolic of what the country and its people have lived through.
Don't expect something uplifting or saccharine. If you want to immerse yourself in the mood of Balkan tragedy, this is a great story.