“We were a chocolate-box family. Brightly wrapped on the outside and oozing sticky darkness within and oozing sticky darkness within.”
Follow along in this mesmerizing historical novel set during the 1930s as two complete strangers, Ren and Ji Lin, become entangled in Chinese superstitions about men who can transform into tigers.
Ren is an eleven-year-old Chinese houseboy, whose master passes away following a bout of illness; Ren is then transferred to work with another doctor and also is responsible for finding and returning his former masters lost finger. According to Chinese superstitions, it is imperative that his master’s finger be returned to his grave before he has been dead for forty-nine days or his soul will be unable to rest in peace.
Jen Li works as a dance-hall girl and while giving dance lessons one evening to a strange man, she discovers a glass container with a shriveled finger inside. Along with the help of her stepbrother, she is determined to return the finger to its rightful owner.
Unbeknownst to be both Ren and Jen Li their lives are entangled with one another. As the forty-nine days draw to a close both of them are realizing just how much their lives are a part of one another. Will the tiger that’s wreaking havoc on their small town reach them before they are able to return the finger to Ren’s master’s grave? Are their darker forces at work? And what do the ties that bind them really mean?
Okay, I will be completely honest- when I first read the synopsis of this book, I was unsure that I would enjoy the storyline (it is completely different than anything I would normally pick up). But, I have been trying to step out of my reading comfort zone and learn about different genres and, in this case, different cultures. I am thrilled that I went with my gut instinct and read this story. It was fantastic.
The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo explores ancient Chinese superstitions and portrays the good, the bad and the evil of life. Also, nestled within the pages there lies a mystery, death, sibling rivalry, a family secret, and a love story; it had everything that I love rolled up into one fantastic adventure. At multiple points throughout the book, I was in awe as to how intertwined all of the characters were. It was a page-turner that kept me hooked until the very end.
Yangsze Choo has made a fan out of me and I am looking forward to reading her next book. I highly recommend, if this book doesn’t sound like you, that you step out of your comfort zone and be prepared to be amazed.