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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Tiger

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival (Borzoi Books)

by John Vaillant
audiobook: 12 .1 hours
narrated by the author

I was REALLY looking forward to this book.  It is a true story, and one that greatly intrigued me.

Check out this video to get an idea of what the book is about:



This book turned out to be very different from what I expected, in both good and bad ways.

On the one hand the story is much MUCH more complex than simply a tiger stalking and killing a man. I learned about the religious beliefs of the native Siberian people (and those of neighboring Asian countries), the status of animals during and after the Soviet government, poaching for survival and for profit, tiger biology and habits, and so much more.  The story in incredibly and fascinatingly complex, yet unbelievably simple at the same time.

On the other hand, I was sort of expecting more of the book to be about how and why this particular tiger had a vendetta against this particular man.  Although I did learn the answers to both questions, this comprised a much smaller portion of the book than I expected and I was a bit disappointed in that.  I think it was more a issue of how the book had been marketed than a fault of the book itself though.

On the whole I found this book fascinating and educational, if not always completely thrilling.  It wasn't one that I rushed back to whenever possible but it held my attention completely whenever I had it playing.

Oh, and the author did a great job narrating this one so that was a definitely bonus for me.

12 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Hm, sounds interesting. I guess it would be hard to know why the tiger had a vendetta since we'll never know what animals think.

Kathleen said...

This sounds like an interesting one for me. I have to say I am intrigued and my expectations have been properly set after reading your review.

Heather J. said...

bermudaonion - True, but the author makes a great case for tigers being very vengeful, based on a variety of incidents. It is actually quite fascinating!

Kathleen - I hope you'll give it a try - it's a very interesting book, just not exactly what I was expecting.

softdrink said...

I didn't realize tigers could even have vendettas.

Alyce said...

I hate it when books are marketed as something they're not. I'm glad it still turned out to be a good read for you though!

Swapna said...

Oh this does sound interesting. Knowing the vendetta isn't well explained beforehand could work well, as it will temper expectations. I'll have to seek this one out in audio!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I am intrigued that the author is the narrator.... always looking for good audio :)

Ti said...

I read that Brad Pitt bought the movie rights. Do you think it would make a good movie?

Also, I know domestic felines are not quite the same but having had cats all my life, I can say that they can hold a grudge, so it doesn't surprise me that a tiger would too.

Heather J. said...

Ti - It might make a good movie, depending on how it's done, but I'm not sure. So much of the book focuses on the history of the tiger in the region, and on the politics of the time, that I'm not sure how that would translate to film. Still, it could be really good.

And as for the cat vendetta/grudge thing, the author makes an excellent case for tigers being very vengeful - it really is fascinating!

Alison's Book Marks said...

It certainly sounds original!

Charlie Sheen gave Tigers a bad name, I hope this tiger made up for it. :)

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I think I sort of felt this same way as well. I learned a lot, but I wasn't mesmerized by it.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I didn't realize that John Vaillant narrated the audio - I imagine he did a nice job. He did a local book talk, and was VERY passionate about the subject.

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