#40 “Tiger Men” by Judy Nunn

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  1. Divergent – Veronica Roth
  2. Insurgent – Veronica Roth
  3. Allegiant – Veronica Roth
  4. Not For Glory, Not For Gold – Keith Miles
  5. The Mammoth Book of Angels and Demons
  6. Last Night at Chateau Marmont – Lauren Weisberger
  7. The Green Mile – Stephen King
  8. Tiger Men – Judy Nunn
  9. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
  10. The Rosie Effect – Graeme Simsion
  11. The Bane Chronicles  – Cassandra Clare et al
  12. Moriarty – Anthony Horowitz
  13. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

I think I’m just going to jump straight in today. I really want to get started on my next book! Not being able to read because of your own weird blogging rules really sucks.

Anyway, this book was very odd in the way in was laid out. Tiger Men follows three families across three generations: the Powells, the Stanfords, and the O’Callaghans. What was odd was the way in which Nunn joined all of the stories together, as well as where she chose to end each of the stories. The ends of each generation’s story, while these each made sense in there way, were all quite abrupt. These abrupt endings were made even more so by the addition of excerpts from “A Tiger’s Tale” by Henry Fothergill. The inclusion of “A Tiger’s Tale” made absolutely no sense to me. There was nothing in these excerpts that in any way tied into the main story. No crossing over of characters or anything like that. The only thing that made these inclusions in anyway relevant was the theme of the Tasmanian tiger, given that Nunn’s book is called Tiger Men. In fact, the name Fothergill isn’t mentioned in the main plot until the last few pages of the novel. Plus, we don’t actually learn the point of the inclusions until the Author’s Note after the story is over. Now, how does that make sense? I feel like these excerpts should have been cut. I understand why Nunn included them, but only because I actually read the Author’s Note. If I hadn’t, as many readers have a tendency to close a book after the main story has finished, I would still be confused. Sometimes authors try to be too clever for their own good.

The book started and ended with tiny snippets from the point of view of a Tasmanian tiger. I kind of wish that the Tassie tiger had appeared more often through the story so that this kind of circular storytelling had more of a point. The only real reference to the, now extinct, tigers was in the very first story of the O’Callaghan family and even then it was only fleeting. I feel like if Nunn really wanted the book to be about the tigers, she would have had them as more of a focus. In my opinion, Tiger Men should really have been called Van Diemen’s Land. Or The Apple Isle. Either one of these would have made more sense than Tiger Men.

All of this being said, this story was amazing. The characters were engaging and I found myself itching to read the book whenever I did something else, like watching TV or working. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about a part of Australia that most people forget about (particularly people from overseas. The island at the bottom of our funny shaped country is still a part of us, guys! Trust me!) and a place that I really want to go to one day. It was also fun to see different parts of history happen through the eyes of everyday characters.

What impressed me most about Tiger Men, though, was the evolution of the Aussie vernacular. It starts out all proper and English and rigid but ends with the Aussie slang and turns of phrase that everybody knows and loves. Nunn even managed to make it so that those characters from the older generations still spoke in the old English ways. As a wannabe writer, I know how difficult it can be to get dialogue right. Nunn absolutely nailed it.

Nunn’s coverage of WWI was also unbelievably moving, especially after the train wreck that was A Fatal Tide that I read a few months agoShe got everything spot on, from the patriotic fervour of the initial sign on for ‘The Great War’ to the shell-shock that followed the soldiers home. Stories about war always strike a chord with me, and Nunn did a fantastic job.

Tiger Men, although the title makes no sense and there are bits and pieces that seem superfluous, is a wonderful tale about the history of Australia that kept me engaged from start to finish. I give this book:

★★★★

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About Bec Graham

Bec Graham, 24, was born on the wrong continent. Everything from her burns-like-paper skin tone to her inability to cope with the slightest hint of a hot day suggests she should have been born under the gloomy skies and mild sun of the UK. She hopes writing will get her to her rightful home one day. Failing that, she scans the skies for a spinning blue police box, hoping to catch a lift back to the motherland.
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2 Responses to #40 “Tiger Men” by Judy Nunn

  1. As one of your blog’s newest fans, I nominate you for a Liebster Award! Congratulations!

    The Liebster Award is all about recognising new blogs and/or those with a small following, sharing the love…and a little bit about yourself. I love everything about the blogging community, so I was humbled and delighted to be nominated by a fellow blogger myself: https://foodtouristconfessions.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/die-liebe/

    Congratulations again – I look forward to your future posts!

    Best wishes,
    twinbutterfly

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