28. The Tiger's Wife, by Tea Obreht (2011)
Natalia is a doctor working in the war-riven former Yugoslavia when the news comes that her grandfather has disappeared. The book recounts Natalia's memories of her grandfather, especially the two stories he told her: that of the tiger's wife, a young Islamic woman living in his Christian village, who was thought to have fallen pregnant to a tiger roaming the nearby hills, and that of the deathless man, whom he encountered repeatedly through his adult life. As Natalia dwells on these stories, she comes to grips with the fate of her grandfather.
Obreht uses these two motifs to highlight the indiscriminate deaths of wartime and the sectarian resentments that led up to the war. It's original and beautifully written, and you can see why it won literary awards like the Orange Prize, but it simply lacks the spark to engage the reader until the very end, as she approaches her resolution.
Edited by California Dreamer - 6/8/13 at 2:33am