When I first noticed this book I seem to remember thinking it would be a book in the magical realism style of Haruki Murakami. Later on one of my LT friends read it, and wasn’t too impressed, and made me think I wouldn’t like it that much either. Luckily I found a cheap second hand copy on our holiday in England, so I decided to try it anyway.
In this book there are three stories contained, and two myths (I would call them that). The stories are of Natalia, a doctor, her youth with her Grandfather, and the youth of her grandfather. The myths are those of the Tiger’s Wife and the Deathless Man. This all takes place in (former) Yugoslavia, just before the second World War II, and during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.
I call them myths because they are more like local folk tales (especially the Tiger’s Wife) than the stories of magical realism I am used to from Murakami. But that didn’t make the book any less enjoyable for me. Even though it was a bit confusing in the beginning, because the main characters and time periods changed with each chapter, it came together in the end for me. Not all details were clear in the end, or even made sense when really thinking about it, but for me, that is what folk tales are about. Stories told by different people, none of which have actually seen what happened. Anyway, I really enjoyed this story, of the life of the Grandfather, and the granddaughter trying to understand him by knowing his two most important stories. Four out of five stars.