... may not be just what you need to read right now, but it may well be something you'll reach for eventually. Rich and unsparing, Morris' slim memoir is a keeper ... very much in this same mode of a two-way travelogue, a journey both within and without ... so much more self-aware and expansive than what I've just made it sound like: a privileged white woman's tale of triumph over adversity followed by the reward of what would have once been called 'exotic' travel. Certainly, there are vivid sections here where Morris describes her travels, but Morris' passage to India is also a passage deep into the broken places that have shaped who she is ... a travel memoir for sure, featuring tigers and moments of painful change and solitude and listening. Except for the tigers part, maybe this literary memoir isn't so out of step with our times, after all.
Mary Morris’s All the Way to the Tigers is a travel memoir and quest. Alluringly written in short, meditative chapters, it whizzes back and forth between America and India ... he conceptual opportunity in a memoir such as this is to understand that the reader is stalking the elusive striped beast alongside the narrator. There are six eyes doing the staring: narrator’s and tiger’s, and then the reader’s — another predatory beast waiting to lock eyes with the narrator at the moment she locks eyes with the tiger. It is unfortunate, then, that we don’t really understand what it is that Morris is searching for in her wild animal ... I think the tiger is required to do something for her, quite a few things, because the narrator is recovering from a traumatic and serious ice-skating injury. Most important, the tiger is there to give her a glimpse of something 'savage' that might be lurking inside herself ... The interesting question Morris asks of her own adventurous and courageous life — 'How do we walk a thin line between sane and savage, between wild and tame?' — is the beating heart of this book. It needs to have been ripped out of the beast, still pulsing and warm, rather than gently prodded.
... quick-gliding ... Morris is frank, funny, and incisive as she revisits her 'free ranging' Chicago childhood, single motherhood, and her start as writer, and expounds on tigers in the world and in the imagination ... Morris’ epigrammatic memoir is a finely wrought mosaic of unexpected and provocative pieces cunningly fit together.