Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: The Tsar of Love and Techno

The Tsar of Love and Techno
Anthony Marra

I loved this book. It was powerful, moving, sad, tragic and funny, everything one could want in a good book. The story begins in 1930's Leningrad with an art censor and from this starting point extends into the lives of so many other characters tied together in a spider's web of relations. There is the brother of the censor who is already a condemned enemy of the state. There is Galina, who looms large in the story as a descendant of a prima ballerina who has beauty but little dance talent. Then there is Kolya, Galina's first boyfriend whose life is just not what it could have been. And others who have tried their best to make sense out of like and pass on something of their past for better or worse.

The stories introduce the reader to individual characters and to his or her trials and tribulations and then diverge into other characters, weaving them into the story that tracks highs and lows, pasts and presents and in some cases beyond.

I particularly like the layout that was designed to resemble a cassette tape with two sides and an intermission. It was a unique and clever idea. Maybe not surprising since Marra is a master storyteller able to mix tragedy with farce in a way few writers can. In short, I found this work mesmerizing and hard to put down.

Thanks to blogging for books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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