Cover image for The tiger prince / Chen Jiang Hong ; translated from the French by Alyson Waters.
The tiger prince / Chen Jiang Hong ; translated from the French by Alyson Waters.
Publication Information:
New York : New York Review of Books, 2018.

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : colour illustrations ; 29 x 30 cm
When a tigress whose cubs were killed by hunters ravages villages, the king gathers his army but Lao Lao, a seer, advises him to send his son, Wen, to the tiger, instead.
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A magnificently illustrated Chinese folklore tale about a tigress, a seer, a King, and the prince, who must leave his family and learn the ways of the tigers so that the war between man and animal can end.

Deep in the Great Forest, a tigress is mourning the death of her tiger babies who have been killed by hunters. Seeking revenge, she attacks the villages, destroying houses and prompting the king to gather his army. But a seer named Lao Lao warns the king that if he angers the tigress further she will destroy the kingdom. Lao Lao counsels the king to give his own son to the tigress and promises that no harm will come to the boy. The next morning, the king brings the prince to the edge of the Great Forest and tells him, "Now you must go on alone." To end the war between man and animal, the prince must forget his human ways and begin to learn what tigers know. The Tiger Prince was inspired by The Tigress , a late Shang dynasty bronze vessel in the Cernuschi Museum in Paris depicting a scene from the Chinese folktale of a baby raised by a tigress.

Author Notes

Chen Jiang Hong was born in Tianjin, China, where he studied fine art at the School of Arts before completing his postgraduate education at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. After graduating, he moved to Paris where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and began his career as an artist. His work has been exhibited around the world, notably at the library gallery at the Louvre, at the Centre Pompidou, and at Versailles. His work is in the permanent collection of the Snite Museum at the University of Notre Dame.

Alyson Waters has translated works from the French by Albert Cossery, Louis Aragon, René Belletto, and many others. For NYRB Classics, she translated Emmanuel Bove's Henri Duchemin and His Shadows . She teaches literary translation in the French Department of Yale University and is the managing editor of Yale French Studies . She lives in Brooklyn.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

This tale, Hong (Mao and Me) explains in a brief note, was inspired by figures on a bronze Chinese vessel, which represents the legend of a human child raised by a tiger. In the story's chilling opening sequence-one that may upset sensitive readers-hunters murder a tigress's cubs and she wreaks vengeance, attacking villages and killing people. Lao Lao, a fortune-teller, counsels the king and queen to offer their small son, the prince Wen, to appease the tiger. Brokenhearted, they do. Using sprawling spreads and panels that evoke a sense of movement through the depths of the forest, Hong brushes dark, sinewy ink strokes that bring the tiger's actions right up close. When she first encounters the small, sleeping child, she prepares to maul him, but "just as she's about to attack, instinct overcomes her. She takes Wen in her mouth the way she used to take her cubs. And suddenly, all of her anger vanishes." Wen becomes the tiger's child, and Hong shows Wen riding on her back as she "teaches him everything a little tiger needs to know." The vision of overcoming rage with the power of love and chosen family redeems the story's earlier violence and offers an alternative to punishment and retribution. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.