Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman - Book Review

Publisher's write-up :

In a respectable tea-shop in London, a girl with a pistol is holding off three men. Sally Lockhart is fighting for her child – a child that is suddenly hers no longer. Driven from her home, Sally is in hiding, desperately trying to find out who is turning her life upside down. Meanwhile, the man she is seeking is in a house in Spitalfields, directing his lackeys to snare her deeper, and deeper. No one will stop him, for he is the Tzaddik...”

 The Tiger in the Well is the third book in the Sally Lockhart quartet, written by the British author Philip Pullman, the author of the famous His Dark Materials trilogy. The story happens in 1881, three years after “The Shadow in the North”.

“One sunny morning in the autumn of 1881, Sally Lockhart stood in the garden and watched her little daughter play, and thought that things were good.” - page 3.

On a fine morning, all of a sudden, Sally Lockhart gets a divorce notice, from Arthur James Parrish, a person whom she has never even heard of. Parrish wanted control over the child of Fred (deceased) and Sally, Harriet Rosa. Unfortunately, every evidence was against Sally, the marriage certificate was perfect, with Sally's signature and there was no birth certificate in the name - “Harriet Rosa Lockhart” but only “Harriet Rosa Parrish”. Sally decides not to appear at the court and inevitably, Parrish wins the case. As the per the law, Parrish is entitled to take complete control over Sally's assets. Sally has no money, no place to live and has an arrest warrant against her due to several charges (including one for kidnapping her own daughter).

This is a very good book. For the first time, Philip Pullman took the Victorian period to his advantage. The time period was insignificant in the previous books. These days, such a case might have been over in no time with the help of a DNA test but here, it could be a 431 page novel because of the era. There was also a good element of suspense. There were some unlikely coincidences throughout the book but that is what separates fiction from reality. What I didn't like was too many characters being introduced throughout the book but it can't be helped when the protagonist is forced to be a nomad.

I really enjoyed reading this book but I'd recommend readers to read the previous books before reading this because this book has a lot of references to the events of the previous books and can be understood better. I'd give this book a nine.

Rating : 9/10

Have a nice day,


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