Téa Obreht

Three fictional innovators and masters of the storyteller's art.



When Téa Obreht's short stories, set in the Balkan land of her birth, began appearing in The New Yorker and The Atlantic, readers quickly took notice of the unique new voice that blended fabulist storytelling with a keen understanding of war's aftermath.  With her debut novel, The Tiger's Wife, Obreht spins interwoven tales into a dazzling web of love, grief, rage, and dreams.  The author shared with us her thoughts about three groundbreaking writers and their masterworks.


Books by Téa Obreht



The Master and Margarita

By Mikhail Bulgakov


"I seem to be eternally forcing this book on everyone I meet, and I am still surprised by how many people it has yet to touch. Hilarious, devastating, and deeply satisfying, this titan of Satan-comes-to-town stories—made even more real by Bulgakov's meticulous rendering of 20th-century Moscow—takes aim at politics, religion and art through characters as memorable as they are insane. Historically, the book itself is the stuff of legend: how many writers can claim that, almost 60 years later, kohl-eyed teenagers in cat-printed shirts continue to hover hopefully in the alleys, stairwells and parks where the book is set?"



Love in the Time of Cholera

By Gabriel García Márquez


"The first García Márquez I ever read, and certainly my favorite. I am always fascinated by how his humor and lyricism allow this dark, deeply disturbing journey, full of characters that often embody the very worst in human nature, to masquerade as a love story. Every time I come back to it, I find some monstrosity I missed in a previous reading: murder, rape, sheer unabated meanness of spirit. With one hand, García Márquez plays with our innate desire for a happy ending; with the other, he shows us how willingly we look past horrors just to indulge our belief that love should triumph."



The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
The Finca Vigia Edition

By Ernest Hemingway


"I carried this book around with me wherever I went for about two years—no small feat, because, at almost 700 pages, it's a tight fit in most bags and is an extremely effective weapon when hurled over short distances. Hemingway's prose did not affect me until I fell under the spell of his short stories—and in that regard, this book is just one long unbelievable indulgence. Particularly surprising and incredible are his lesser-known works, among which "A Natural History of the Dead" is arguably my favorite."

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.