I'm enjoying this book more and more as I get deeper into the stories. I still feel like I'm missing something. Like there is a thread holding all of these people and events together, but I can't find it to grab onto. It either lies in the history of war that the characters always talk about, but rarely expand upon, or some event that is yet to reveal itself. When it comes to history, I am admittedly ignorant and know very little about the Balkan war; so I don't know what this war means for the people.
Again, the most enjoyable part of this second part have been the stories/tales/fables that have been shared. The deathless man returns, but I don't find him nearly as gentle as I previously did. In this section he is harsh and matter-of-fact. His philosophy on the impact of knowing when you will die seem to fly in the face of what is commonly believed. The deathless man believes that instead of causing panic, knowledge of impending death brings peace. In a strange way, I like the idea of the sick and weak giving up on a hopeless battles and finding calm in their last moments.
The stories of Darvisa the Bear and Luka created the perfect opportunity for comparison. Luka has no interest in women as a boy and this disinterest turns to hate when he forced to take a bride as a man. Darvisa's love for women begins with his sister. His respect and love for women later extends to his work in the various villages and his desire to protect women leads to him taking on the undesired task of hunting and killing the tiger. The tiger's wife finds both men in her life, and finds that both only intend to bring her pain and suffering.
If anything, I am very grateful that this novel has opened my eyes to the world of "magical realism". As embarrassing as it is to admit, I have never read Kipling or Marquez. Now I can stop fearing their work and actually start reading it.