Skip to content Skip to navigation

Book Review: When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo

Friday, July 16, 2021 - 07:00
book cover

Evidently I’m making a habit of reading Vo’s Singing Hills novellas in odd contexts. I read the first sitting on a gurney in an emergency room, and this one hanging out in a park near the Apple Store waiting for my phone’s batter replacement to be completed.  This has nothing to do with the content of the books, but is a testament to their convenient length and engrossing content. The tie between the two books, aside from the alternate-China setting, is the framing character of the story-collector Chih who this time finds themself unwilling audience to three tiger shapechangers who are willing to be distracted from their hunger by the chance to set the record straight regarding a previous tiger-human interaction. One partaking variously of romance and the tricky etiquette of the circumstances under which one may eat a guest. There’s enough uncertainty in how the story will come out to keep the reader unsure of just what genre they’re reading. My favorite aspect was the characterization of the tigers, who are never anything but very very tigerish.

Major category: