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."

July 24: On this day in 1725 John Newton, the slave trader-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).