The elderly Claudia Hampton, a best-selling author of popular history; lies alone in a London hospital bed. Memories of her life still glow in her fading consciousness, but she imagines writing a history of the world. Instead, Moon Tiger is her own history, the life of a strong, independent woman, with its often contentious relations with family and friends. At its centre — forever frozen in time, the still point of her turning world — is the cruelly truncated affair with Tom, a British tank commander whom Claudia knew as a reporter in Egypt during World War II.
Moon Tiger is a fantastic book. Claudia is sharp and unapologetic, her life full of intrigue and vivid experience; she is a truly magnificent central character. I love how her story unfolds in a kaleidoscope of memories and thoughts rather than abiding to any linear timeline.
Moon Tiger is beautifully written and a very enjoyable read – a definite 5 stars. Highly recommended for anyone who liked The English Patient, which I loved, but have to say Moon Tiger is better.
We open our mouths and out flow words whose ancestries we do not even know. We are walking lexicons. In a single sentence of idle chatter we preserve Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Norse; we carry a museum inside our heads, each day we commemorate peoples of whom we have never heard. More than that, we speak volumes – our language is the language of everything we have read. Shakespeare and the Authorised Version surface in supermarkets, on buses, chatter on radio and television. I find this miraculous. I never cease to wonder at it. That words are more durable than anything, that they blow with the wind, hibernate and reawaken, shelter parasitic on the most unlikely hosts, survive and survive and survive.
READ NOW: Moon Tiger
BOOK #27 IN 2020
FIRST PUBLISHED: 1987
GENRE: Historical Fiction
AWARDS: Winner of the 1987 Booker Prize.