Saturday, April 2, 2011

Téa Obreht

Part of The Tiger's Wife author Téa Obreht's interview with Jennie Yabroff for The Daily Beast:

You spent the first years of your life in Belgrade, but now live in Ithaca, New York. The Tiger's Wife is set in an unnamed Balkan country. Is it easier to write about a place when you're away from it?

It's definitely easier for me. I did no writing while I was visiting the Balkans. I do no writing while I'm in Belgrade visiting my grandma. There's a way you think about your experiences and process them after the fact that makes it much more organic. When you're in a place, the details you focus on are different than details you focus on when you're writing about it. For instance, when I wrote about the tiger's escape from the zoo, I wrote about the zoo I remembered from my childhood, which has since changed. I've seen the new zoo, but I wanted to describe the zoo of my childhood.

Can you talk about your childhood?

I left Belgrade when I was 7. My family moved because of the war. I lived with mother and her parents. My grandfather was an engineer. His job took us from place to place, so my childhood happened on the move. I grew up in Cyprus and Egypt, these fantastic places I remember fondly. In a way I was raised with newness. Going back to Belgrade after 11 years, there was a newness to it, so the experience of it was familiarly exciting. That newness and familiarity combo was unique. Then my mother and I moved to...[read on]
Read more about The Tiger's Wife.

--Marshal Zeringue