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. @goodreads
How do I even begin to review this wonderful book. I'm going to try my best without giving too many spoilers
This book moved me, touched my heart and made me sad on so many levels. The tales the author weaves of these people and their lives, how they all inter-connect is just beautiful. Beautifully sad....
FIRST STORY: THE LEOPARD
This is where the story begins. Roman Markin - Department of Party Propaganda and Agitation - Censors Paintings.
Roman wanted to be an artist, not an artist who censored art, but life is what it is...
He had a brother Vaska, who went to prison for religious radicalism. Roman visited Vaska's wife and son to tell the wife to get rid of anything with Vaska's picture etc. He also told the son, Vladimir his father is painted into the background. And if you can't figure that out, Roman painted little pictures of his brother at different ages into the paintings he had to censor.
Unfortunately, Roman was charged for being involved with a dancer in connection with a polish spy ring. None of this was true and it was horrible to read how they made him accept this charge and the things they did to him.
SECOND STORY: GRANDDAUGHTERS
This is the story of the granddaughters who are related to the..supposed.. Polish Spy. Galina takes after her grandmother and becomes a dancer and later an actress.
Galina falls in love with a boy named Kolya, they were to be married and have a child. Things didn't happen the way they were intended. Kolya went to war and never made it home.
THIRD STORY: THE GROZNY TOURIST BUREAU
Ruslan is a limo driver turned head of The Grozny Tourist Bureau. He takes people on a tour of the little museum of old paintings that survived a bombing. Nadya is his girlfriend and she is blind. He is trying to find a way to get a large amount of money to pay for her surgery to see again. It seems like an impossible thing.
Galina and her rich husband make an appearance at the little museum and Galina wants one of the paintings. It's so very important to her, but I can't tell you why. I just have to say when you do find out, it makes you cry... at least it made me cry.
Ruslan didn't want to sell the painting, but with someone other persons sorrow, comes another persons happiness.....
FOUR STORY: A PRISONER OF THE CAUCASUS
This story tells of what happened to Kolya and his partner when they were in the military. It was so sad and so bittersweet. It is filled with connections to everyone else.
INTERMISSION: THE TSAR OF LOVE AND TECHNO
This tells the story of Alexi, who was Kolya's brother. He visits with Galina for a bit and then it takes us back to when the boys were young. Alexi tells of his father and how he had a science museum of strange things. I will leave that to the imagination. It is a wonderful story as well.
FIRST STORY: WOLF OF WHITE FOREST
This is the story of Vera. She tries to get her daughter in a marriage with Kolya, but it just didn't happen. There were some shady things going on that led to a death or so and Kolya leaving for war.
SECOND STORY: PALACE OF THE PEOPLE
This story is about Vladimir, remember him? He was the little boy his uncle came to see in the first story. This is about his life growing up.
THIRD STORY: A TEMPORARY EXHIBITION
This tells the story of Nadya's surgery. Also Ruslan has become a deputy minister. Nayda has a gallery she takes Vladimir and his son through. He gets to see something so heartfelt and wonderful in his old age. This really brought tears to my eyes!
THE END: OUTER SPACE
I have my own opinion on this one, but I'm not sure it's correct. I will leave that up others to decide and maybe tell me :)
This book is so wonderfully told, I really wanted to tell you everything about all of the stories, the way they connected, what happened to the people, the horrible atrocities, but you need to read the book for yourself if this is the kind of book you think you would like. I loved it.
*I would like to thank BLOGGING FOR BOOKS for giving me a print copy of this book for my honest review.*
AMAZON LINK TO THE BOOK: