Reader reviews and comments on The Night Tiger, plus links to write your own review.

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The Night Tiger

A Novel

by Yangsze Choo

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo X
The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2019, 384 pages
    Feb 11, 2020, 400 pages


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Patricia S. (Chicago, IL)

The Night Tiger
I was excited to hear that Yangsze Choo was writing a second novel, as I had found her first one, The Ghost Bride, an enthralling work with a blend of mythology and history. The Malaysian setting, seen through a Chinese girl's eyes, was completely unique. I hoped her second novel would be as good. Instead, it is even better. Still set in Malaysia, in the 1930s, this is a remarkable historical novel, full of historical details, a fully realized plot, and characters that make you think of them long after you finish the novel. The girl Ji Lin and the houseboy Ren are united by the mythology surrounding their names - two of the five Confucian virtues. The search for the other three people/virtues is complicated by Ji Lin's secret life as a paid partner at a dance hall, and her desire to move beyond the limits of a girl's life in a traditional family, and Ren's mission to locate and reunite an amputated finger with its recently deceased owner - before the 49th day after the owner's death when he could become a dangerous monster. Oh, and the unexplained deaths by tiger - a tiger no one sees and who seems to know an English man's secrets that can't be exposed in the closed society of colonial English society. Be sure to have plenty of time to read this book because you won't want to put it down until you finish it.
Mary Anne R. (Towson, MD)

The Night Tiger
Yangtze Choo is a wonderful writer. She has written a multilayered novel with many twists and turns. Despite some dark elements like murder and nasty characters and other worldly characters like the weretiger I found the novel delightful.

The protagonists are beautifully developed. I was very fond of her development of the young boy, Ren.

There is so much I loved about this novel. It is highly creative. I enjoyed this book and look forward to her other novels.
Gail Brooks

A Real Ghost Story
The Night Tiger follows parallel adventures for 49 days in 1930s Malaya. The paths of main characters: Ren, an 11 year old houseboy and his dead twin, step-siblings Ji Lin and Shen - and a host of other characters, are woven magically through the story. A tale of love, loyalty, food and perhaps even weretigers, gives insight into Malay/Chinese traditions and folk legends. The author was so skillful that she kept the reader hanging in suspense to the last page. I couldn't put it down!
Lesley F. (San Diego, CA)

Night Tiger - A Great Asian Mystery to Solve
This book was so good. I read almost straight through. Well, enough to be late for a couple of appointments! I really want to read Ms. Yangsze Choo's first novel, The Ghost Bride!
Night Tiger is mystery and magic realism in 1930s Malaysia - or Malaya as it was known - the author refers to it as a sort of Downton Abbey of the the tropics. What intrigued me most especially was the detailed information on the Chinese number superstitions which relate to good or bad luck and how names can be influenced by this. The mystery and the connections made to the various characters was so much fun to try to solve. One gets feelings that suggest you know where this is going but small curves are thrown in to make one have to stop and rethink the answer. Mixed in are details about twins, weretigers, complicated love stories, and Chinese mythology. Book club recommendations are a certainty - I love it when I find and choose a great book!
Jennifer Shaw

Gorgeous Descriptive Writing
Gorgeous, descriptive writing. The characters are multi dimensional. I loved how the author mixed characters that were dealing with modern day problems while dealing with old superstitions and folklore, characters from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and the restrictions of the time from different gender perspectives. There are book to read for pleasure and books to read for discussion. This is one of those rare books that works for both.
Valerie C. (Chico, CA)

Very well written and engaging. I usually struggle with story lines with ghosts and other metaphysical concepts, but with this book I just let myself go and enjoy it.
S Dunn

Magical Realism......Or is it?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's a bit of a slow start but there is a lot of groundwork to lay and ultimately well worth the time and effort. I love learning about different cultures and this is one of those books where you don't even realize how much you're learning as the narrative progresses. The story takes you in many directions as It's also about the overlay or integration of several different cultures. It really got me thinking about how despite all of the rich heritages that formed our country the fact is that we as a nation still remain quite disparate. I live in the suburbs of a major American city where everyone knows where China Town is, where the Italian neighborhoods are, where the Polish areas are, the Hispanic areas, etc. We remain regionalized and culturally separate so it was a real eye-opener to read about a country that was colonized by several other cultures and the repercussions to the Malayans. As an example the indigenous Malayan people had to change their names (at least in public or places of work) if they sounded too much like an unlucky number in Chinese. In order for the Malayan people to survive and earn their wages they had to learn to speak some Cantonese as well as some of the Indian dialects. They also had to understand the Chinese and Indian superstitions as well as various key components of each of the incoming cultures. I found this book fascinating and educational while at the same time I was thoroughly drawn into the completely intriguing and multi-layered story at its core. Very very well done and recommended.
Cheryl P. (Lebanon, PA)

The Night Tiger
Dressmaker by day and dance hall gal by night. This story swept you through the maturing life of Ji Lin. A coming of age story about a young lady in 1930s Malaysia and her journey through coming to terms with her family life and step brother while trying to solve a mystery. The mystery involves a young man by the name of Ren, a night tiger, a long black train, and an ever evolving list of unforgettable characters. The story was well written and allowed your imagination to wander into the tropical word that the author has created.
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Beyond the Book:
  The Five Confucian Virtues

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