Title: The Tiger's Wife
Author: Tea Obreht
I noticed today that I've read a lot of books lately with the word "wife" in the title. Weird. I listened to this book on audiobook, and I don't know if it was the reader's voice or the story itself, but I was absolutely entranced. I dug a zillion flower beds last week, pulled out all the old sod, lined them with rocks, and filled them up with new dirt, and this book made the hours fly by (I do not like yard work).
Natalia is a twentysomething doctor living in Central Europe (from what I could glean it sounded sort of like the book took place in what used to be Yugoslavia, maybe in Croatia) in the late 1990s. At the opening of the book, we learn that Natalia's grandfather (also a doctor) has died in a city across the border. What ensues is a bunch of stories: what is happening to Natalia in the present day, what happened to her family while she was growing up, and her grandfather's encounters with "the deathless man" and the story of the tiger's wife who lived in her grandfather's village when he was a child. I'm taking a folklore class right now, and reading this book was interesting from a folklorist's perspective-- I got a better understanding of how myth and legend can persist in modern society. Overall, this was an interesting, challenging read. It's not too long, and the audiobook is gorgeous.