Normally, I’m not a huge short story fan. In fact, in the years that I’ve been reading The New Yorker, I have been known to pass up the fiction section entirely. Of course, the exception to this is anything by Sloane Crosley (except her latest book– woof).
I was intrigued when I heard about Anthony Marra’s newest short story collection, The Tsar of Love and Techno. I loved the image of a mixtape on the cover, foreshadowing the common “soundtrack” that strings together the vignettes of characters through the former USSR territories.
The stories take place from the 1930s-2000s, told from different perspectives with each story. Too long to be chapters, too short to be novellas, too separate to be one novel. To say too much about the plot, I feel, would give it away. Trust that the complexities of Soviet history, blended with timeless human struggles with relationships, make for a wonderfully long-lasting book hangover.
My favorite part of the whole book is how each story links back to characters who narrated stories earlier in the book. It’s like when you walk past a familiar scent or perfume. At first you take a step back, realize it is familiar, and then slowly come back to identify it. Which character was related to whom? In what way? How long ago? It becomes very clear that they are all meant to weave together.
A good book entertains.
A good book is well organized.
A good book makes you cry.
A good book makes you laugh.
A good book tells you more about lands you’ve never been to.
This book did all of the above, and more.
Rating: 5/5 stars
- NPR Interview with the author
- Book featured on Maureen Corrigan’s Top 10 list for 2015
- NYTimes Book Review of this title
I received a copy of this book from www.BloggingforBooks.com. All opinions are my own.