100 Books That Defined the Decade
For good, for bad, for ugly.
Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife (2011)
The dead are celebrated. The dead are loved. They give something to the living. Once you put something into the ground, Doctor, you always know where to find it.
Essential stats: Obhret’s debut novel was a finalist for the National Book Award, and the winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2011—and oh right, she was 25 at the time, which made her the youngest writer ever to receive the latter honor. In 2010, Obreht was named as one of the New Yorker‘s 20 Under 40 and one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. Also, the novel sold like hotcakes. You read it. Your friends read it. Your mom read it. Your mom’s friends read it. Look, American love a wunderkind (and sometimes they also love very good books).
What did the critics say? They were pretty much all about it. Michiko Kakutani called it “a hugely ambitious, audaciously written work that provides an indelible picture of life in an unnamed Balkan country still reeling from the fallout of civil war,” and Liesl Schillinger put her finger on the very thing that always so impresses me about Obreht’s writing, that it is “filled with astonishing immediacy and presence, fleshed out with detail that seems firsthand, The Tiger’s Wife is all the more remarkable for being the product not of observation but of imagination.”
Watch Obreht read a bit of the book:
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