It's a WWII story about a tiger who escapes from a bombed-out zoo, struggles to survive, and comes to form a relationship with a mute Muslim girl. The story focuses on the local mythology that forms around this strange relationship.
It's clear that Obreht is a talented writer and is great at describing various sensations and feelings but as a whole the story left me pretty cold and did not cohere into anything particularly memorable or moving -- I'd be curious to hear from anyone who's read the whole novel. Also I found it pretty hard to get over the feeling that these story elements are (as SC makes fun of in his book) "go-to" literary-fiction elements that young writers glom on to because they tend to win praise for being deep and beautiful and powerful. Namely WWII and tigers. Enough tigers already.