June 10th, 2020


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The Tiger's Wife, by Tea Obreht

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Months later, long after the forty days were over, when I had already begun to piece things together, I would still go to sleep hoping that he would find his way into my dreams and tell me something important. I was always disappointed, of course, be-cause even when I did dream of him, he would inevitably be sitting in an armchair we didn't own, in a room I didn't recognize, and he would say things like, Bring me the newspaper, I'm hungry, and I would know, even in my sleep, that it didn't mean a fucking thing. But that night, I hadn't learned to think of him as dead yet, hadn't processed news that seemed too distant to belong to me, not even when I tried to bring it closer by thinking of his absence from our house.
This popped up on my reading list as the best-known book set in Serbia on both LibraryThing and Goodreads. It's a magical realist book, set between the present-ish day and the youth of the narrator's grandfather. There is a strong fantasy element with a character who appears to be immortal and keeps on popping into the narrative. I didn't really think it was all that brilliant. There are some arresting images, but most of them are rather brutal, and at the end of the book the narrator has explored her past a bit but isn't really much the wiser for it. Anyway, you can get it here.

This was my top unread book by a woman, and my top unread sff book (giving it a pass for the immortal character and the general magical realism air). Next on both lists is Tooth and Claw, by Jo Walton.