The One Read reading panel narrowed the list of more than 100 book suggestions for the 2012 program to two top contenders. Between now and April 20, cast your vote for either “The Tiger’s Wife” by Téa Obreht or “Turn of Mind” by Alice LaPlante.
The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
Everything necessary to understand my grandfather lies between two stories: the story of the tiger’s wife, and the story of the deathless man. These stories run like secret rivers through all the other stories of his life — of my grandfather’s days in the army; his great love for my grandmother; the years he spent as a surgeon and a tyrant of the University. One, which I learned after his death, is the story of how my grandfather became a man; the other, which he told to me, is of how he became a child again.
—From “The Tiger’s Wife” by Téa Obreht.
In the war-torn Balkans, young physician Natalia searches for tales from her grandfather’s past in an attempt to understand his mysterious death far from home. She becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal. As she looks for answers, she uncovers an extraordinary World War II era story of a deaf-mute woman in her grandfather’s boyhood village who befriended a tiger escaped from a zoo. Personal history, quest, myth, superstition and the aftermath of war combine to create a magical narrative.
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
Something has happened. You can always tell. You come to and find wreckage: a smashed lamp, a devastated human face that shivers on the verge of being recognizable. Occasionally someone in a uniform: a paramedic, a nurse. A hand extended with a pill. Or poised to insert a needle.
—From “Turn of Mind” by Alice LaPlante
Jennifer White is a brilliant, retired surgeon who may have murdered her best friend. The ultimate unreliable narrator, Dr. White suffers from severe dementia, struggles with fractured memories of their relationship and wonders if she actually committed the crime. This literary thriller follows Dr. White’s poignant decline and the slow unfolding of a murder mystery while exploring the complexities of marriage, family and long-term friendship.