“I’ve come to realize how much specific places have an effect on your mind, your imagination, your relationship to self, the person that you feel you are. You feel these seismic changes in your own psychology.”
Téa Obreht was born in Belgrade, in the former Yugoslavia, and grew up in Cyprus and Egypt before eventually immigrating to the United States. In her two novels, The Tiger’s Wife and Inland, she explores themes of myth, narrative, and memory.
Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Obreht’s debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife, links the past and present by stories and anecdotes. In an unnamed Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.
The Tiger’s Wife won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction; at 25, Obreht was the youngest ever recipient of the prize. The book was also a 2011 National Book Award finalist, an international bestseller, and named one of the best books of the year by numerous publications including The New York Time Book Review, Publisher’s Weekly, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, and O: The Oprah Magazine.
“Obreht is the kind of writer who can forever change the way you think about a thing, just through her powers of description.”
—O: The Oprah Magazine
In Inland, her second novel, Obreht takes on the sweeping mythology of the American West. In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives unfold: Nora, an unflinching frontierswoman, aces the harsh elements of life on the frontier as she awaits the return of the her husband and elder sons; and Lurie, a former outlaw and a man haunted by lost souls as he embarks on a momentous expedition across the West. Lurie’s death-defying trek intersects with Nora’s plight, reimagining myths and forging new truths about the American West.
An Editor’s Choice, The New York Times Book Review praised Inland, “Obreht’s simple but rich prose captures and luxuriates in the West’s beauty and sudden menace. Remarkable in a novel with such a sprawling cast, Obreht also has a poetic touch for writing intricate and precise character descriptions.” The book was named among President Obama’s summer reading list picks for 2019.
Obreht’s work has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Non-Required Reading, and has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Vogue, Esquire and Zoetrope: All-Story, among many others. She was the recipient of the Rona Jaffe fellowship from the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and a 2016 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, and was named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty. She lives in New York with her husband, and teaches at Hunter College.
For more information on Téa Obreht, please visit http://www.teaobreht.com.