The Tiger Claw

The Tiger Claw

by Shauna Singh Baldwin

Shauna Singh Baldwin first heard of the mysterious story of Noor Inayat Khan (codename Madeleine) at The Safe House, an espionage-themed restaurant in Milwaukee.

A former Dutch spy told her of the brave and beautiful Indo-American woman who left her family in London, England to become a spy in Nazi-occupied France during the Second World War.The story immediately intrigued Baldwin, inspiring her to travel to Europe, seek out the places where Noor lived, interview the people who knew her and discover more about the enigmatic woman.

The Giller Prize finalist The Tiger Claw Baldwins follow-up novel to her award-winning What The Body Remembers was born from the silences, conflicting stories and significant gaps she discovered along the way.As the novel begins, were thrown into a bleak German prison cell with Noor, where she is shackled hand and foot and freezing from the winters cold.

Noors captor, Herr Vogel, allows her onionskin paper on which he directs her to write childrens stories.

She does so, but also secretly writes letters to someone she addresses as ma petite, the spirit of the child she had conceived with Armand Rivkin, a French Jewish musician and the love of her life.

Although she must keep the letters hidden from her captor, it is through these words to her unborn child, alternating with a thrilling third-person narrative, that we learn Noors courageous and heartbreaking story.Noors mother is an American from Boston who married a Sufi musician and teacher from India.

She stops seeing Armand, but is devastated and lonely.

Once the war begins, Noors family heads to England while Armands family stays.

When Germany invades France, Noor despairs of ever seeing Armand again, until Kabir unwittingly introduces her to his new friend who is recruiting bilingual women for the resistance.

She will help defeat the Germans, but her true purpose will be to find and reunite with Armand.As a resistance agent, Noor trains to be a radio operator, taking on a second identity Nora Baker one of many names she will eventually assume.

She has secret rendezvous with other agents, transmits messages from various safe houses, and risks capture at every turn.

Noor must wade her way through oppression and hypocrisy from all sides: h her beloved Armand could be killed by the Germans at any time; her French and British colleagues fight the occupation of France while Britain still occupies India; she learns of dark family secrets; and, one by one, members of the spy network are being ratted out by a double agent.

We know from the beginning that Noor will end up imprisoned, but who betrays her?

  • Language: English
  • Category: Historical
  • Rating: 3.72
  • Pages: 592
  • Publish Date: July 26th 2005 by Vintage Canada
  • Isbn10: 0676976212
  • Isbn13: 9780676976212

What People Think about "The Tiger Claw"

Its been two weeks since I finished The Tiger Claw and I sat down to update and couldnt at all remember what I had read since Galveston, which cant be a good sign (whether of my memory or of the texts, I cant be sure). I took The Tiger Claw on a weeks holiday with my family, which always means ample time to read.

I haven't, yet, read a biography of Khan, yet I found her story as told in A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII to be compelling and inspiring. Part of the problem is that towards the end of the book I realized that I was really fed up with stories about women in World War II who becomes spies not for love of country, but because they want to find thier lost lover. Baldwin's Khan does become a spy in part so she can find out what happened to her lover, the man she wants to marry (and boy, do they have backstory). Considering that Baldwin's Khan is thinking about imperial rule, religion and politics during the novel, she would need a second excuse besides love of England, when she only went to England after fleeing France.

While at the Sorbonne, Noor falls in love with Armand, a Jewish musician. Unwavering courage is what Noor requires for her assignment and her deeply personal mission to re-unite with Armand. When Germany surrenders in 1945, her brother Kabir begins his search through the chaos of Europes Displaced Persons camps to find her." (From Amazon) This was a novel chosen for our book club.

Overall, a good read if you like historical fiction, although don't expect it to be a spy mystery, because it's not.

This book is set during World War 2 yet somehow the author finds a way to make the war seem dull. Also towards the end of the book the author starts to describe things in short, cut sentences that last a whole page, which I had to read with a lot of patience.

This is the story of Noor Khan code name Madeleine who worked against the Nazi regime during the Occupation of France.

The Tiger Claw by Shauna Singh Baldwin was one of those surprises. The Tiger Claw moves back and forth in time, illuminating Noors past and linking it to her present. Singh Baldwin indulges herself in elegiac passages about France and faith and love and patriotism to the detriment of momentum. Still, The Tiger Claw was a fantastic read.

The book takes place mainly in France and Pforzein Germany during the nazi occupation of France. The chronology of the book moves between the main character Noor Inayat Khan (aka Madeleine) writing letters in her prison cell and the story of how she ended up getting captured.