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Review: The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

Blurb from Goodreads:
From the New York Times bestselling author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena—dazzling, poignant, and lyrical interwoven stories about family, sacrifice, the legacy of war, and the redemptive power of art.

This stunning, exquisitely written collection introduces a cast of remarkable characters whose lives intersect in ways both life-affirming and heartbreaking. A 1930s Soviet censor painstakingly corrects offending photographs, deep underneath Leningrad, bewitched by the image of a disgraced prima ballerina. A chorus of women recount their stories and those of their grandmothers, former gulag prisoners who settled their Siberian mining town. Two pairs of brothers share a fierce, protective love. Young men across the former USSR face violence at home and in the military. And great sacrifices are made in the name of an oil landscape unremarkable except for the almost incomprehensibly peaceful past it depicts. In stunning prose, with rich character portraits and a sense of history reverberating into the present, The Tsar of Love and Techno is a captivating work from one of our greatest new talents.
My Review:
I will admit that the first few chapters of this one took some effort to get into but once I got a better sense of the book, I was enthralled.  Such beautiful writing!!  The best way that I can describe this book is that it follows one particular painting, of a particular field in Chechnya, and it spans many decades to tell the story of this field, this painting, and the people that were impacted by both.  It is sometimes hard to see the forest through the trees in a book that is so masterful and so beautifully written through the use of seemingly divergent stories, and it took some time for all the threads and lives and stories to make sense, but it was done in such a gorgeous and unique way.  I had no sense of the history and the wars in the former USSR but this book left me reeling and thinking about the world I don't know.  The ending was perfect.  I definitely want to read more from this author!

I would have no hesitation in recommending this book to fans of beautifully written and captivating literary fiction, especially historical literary fiction.

The Tsar of Love and Techno came out last year, you can purchase HERE, and I highly recommend it!
You have waited for me past the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, past each of Saturn's rings.  It's ridiculous, so stupid, I know, to cross the entire solar system just to hear you and Galina butcher Tchaikovsky.  If ever there was an utterance of perfection, it is this.  If God has a voice, it is ours.  
The calcium in collarbones I have kissed.  The iron in the blood flushing those cheeks.  We imprint our intimacies upon atoms born from an explosion so great it still marks the emptiness of space.  A shimmer of photons bears the memory across the long dark amnesia.  We will be carried too, mysterious particles that we are.


  1. Ooh, that's so awesome that you pushed past those first diffictult chapters and ended up loving it! :D SUCH A PRETTY COVER TOO. hehe I've never really read historical literary fiction though? So not entirely sure this is for me, but I loved your review!
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

  2. It definitely sounds really interesting and I am interested to see the writing style. Good to know if I ever pick it p to maybe just push through the beginning a bit. Great review!

  3. I was immediately in love with that cover. And the title is just the coolest. And I really enjoy Russian history. But then I read the synopsis and I was like... huh? That makes it great to hear that you enjoyed it so much. This definitely sounds worth picking up and giving it a try.

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

  4. History isn't my forte but I love learning about it through books. This isn't a book that I would normally gravitate towards, but I'm intrigued especially with the book spanning several decades and is about one painting!
    I'm glad this was a success despite the rough start!
    Lovely review, Eva.

  5. This one sounds pretty interesting! I'm glad you ended up liking it. :)
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  6. Great to hear that it picked up after a slow few chapters, this one is new to me so good to see a review

  7. I've been curious about this one since last year and am still wondering if it is one that I would connect with or just give up on. I'm glad to see you liked it, and I think it's probably one that I'd have to stick it out and not give up too quickly. I love intersecting characters, so that's a plus.

  8. Glad to hear that although it had a rough start for you, it pulled through in the end. This would not be a book for me. I would probably have been lost with all the different stories intertwined. It does sound like an interesting read though.

  9. Huh... That one quote you have at the end of the review took me a minute to wrap my head around. teehee! Only because I was reading it fast and then I had to slow myself down and appreciate the BEAUTIFUL words. So that was my fault. Was the whole book written that way? If so, I'm not sure if I would be able to hang on that long hehe It looked like some other commenters here had the same problems! <3

  10. Wonderful review, Eva! Those quotes are beautiful! :)

  11. This made my top 2015 list. I just love the writing and the historical aspects so much. Marra did an amazing job with this.

  12. I'm so intrigued by how the synopsis differs from the cover. And based from what I read from your review.... *Adds to TBR*


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