Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Tiger's Wife: Part One

Huffington Post Book Club

Since I check Huffington Post at least ten times a day, I was really excited when I found out they would begin hosting the Huffington Post Book Club.  I'm still not sure on what basis they select their books, but it definitely got me to read something I wouldn't have picked up otherwise. 

So far, I've like (not loved) the book.  I have really tried to take my time with it and make sure I'm keeping track of everything that's going on, but a lot of things just aren't clicking with me.  This could be one of several things: (1) I'm just not smart enough to get this book (2) It's too early in the book for anything to be "got" (3) This is my first serious read on the Nook, which is a whole new experience for me.  Since I try to maintain some confidence in myself, I'm going to guess it's 2 or 3. 

While I haven't yet picked up on an overall theme, there are certain parts of the book that I have loved.  The story of the deathless man is nothing less than magical.  I had a smile on my face despite reading such a strange account.  I have this image of the deathless man in mind: a kind faced man with messy dark hair that looks like he's just woken up.  I would have loved to read more about his travels, and secretly hope that the author decides to follow him in some sort of spin off. 

The deathless man is still a huge mystery to me.  Many of the book club comments have described the author's style as "magical realism,"here obviously impossible events are spoken of as if they were true. I tend to agree with this description, and a part of me hopes that is the intent. It would be difficult to find out later in the novel that this was a made up story of a crazy old man who carries a copy of the Jungle Book around in his pocket.  I feel much better about the possibility of people walking around this Earth with stories like this that they don't tell because they know these are moments that belong only to them.  Just as Natalia's grandfather taught her while they watched the elephant walk through the city in the middle of the night.  

It's a secret pact you aren't in on until you've had such an experience.  If you've never had these experiences, you don't know they exist until a grandparent or elderly friend tells you such a story knowing it will be taken as craziness or dementia.  It makes me think of a story my grandma told me several years ago just before the onset of her dementia.  A story that I won' share because it belongs only to us. 


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