Monday, March 7, 2011

ithaca writer debuts new novel

Tea Obreht lives in Ithaca, New York, where she has remained since finishing her M.F.A. at Cornell two years ago. In Ithaca’s relaxed atmosphere she is away from  the publicity of being named to the New Yorker’s list of the 20 best writers under 40— at 25.

 "The Tiger's Wife" is set in an unnamed country in the Balkans after prolonged civil war.  The story is narrated by a young doctor named Natalia who she travels into the borderlands, where emotions about the war are still raw, to deliver medicine to an orphanage.

Obreht herself was born in Belgrade and lived through a lot of its civil unrest.

 Early in her journey Natalia learns that her grandfather, also a doctor, has died in a remote village while on his own mission of mercy. Her grandmother asks Natalia to retrieve a packet of his belongings. As Natalia travels deeper into the devastated landscape, she unravels the meaning of the two central stories that ran through  her grandfather’s life”—the story of his repeated meetings with the deathless man and the story of his childhood experience with the tiger’s wife.

Book Page review of Obreht's book