The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht
The story of a young doctor who is tracing the disappearance of her dying grandfather, intermingled with the grandfather’s own story, amid the war-torn Balkans. It’s a novel of digressions, as we switch from the central character’s story to her grandfather’s story, his encounter with the “deathless man”, and to the stories of the various people in his own life. At times it felt frustrating as the novel drifted off down yet another side-trail, yet each one ultimately caught me. Obrecht is a talented writer, and the setting of this story makes it unusual and interesting.
We Had It So Good by Linda Grant
We Had It So Good is a novel about a couple, Stephen and Andrea, through their university days, their first meeting, and through their lives as they have kids and grow old. I felt a kind of vertigo reading this book; the past recedes at such a rate and time passes in a whirl of images. Grant depicts the characters’ lives, not by showing us the pivotal moments one might expect, but rather the soft, quiet moments around them. The result is a kind of felt history, an emotional and powerful detail of the lives of two ordinary people. Highly recommended.