The Tsar Of Love And Techno by Anthony Marra: Book Review

“You remain the hero of your own story even when you become the villain of someone else’s.”

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

Commentary: I am not the biggest fan of short stories and I normally don’t read them. I really liked the title, it was really catchy. I also liked the synopsis, it was interesting and it got my attention. Another reason why my attention geared towards the book is that I love Russian history, I couldn’t help it! I do recommend at least knowing a bit of Russian communist history, in order to avoid any confusion. I had no idea what the Chechen war was until reading this book. There were many references to the war and censorship. I also liked how most of the characters were unique and had their own stories to tell. ヽ(。ゝω・)ノ☆;:*

What I liked was how each character was flawed, no one was perfect. If I had to chose my favorite one from this collection of stories it has to be Kolya. His story was quite sad. In the story, Granddaughters, the group of friends who looked up to Galina, his ex-fiance, despised him and he was kinda seen as a villain. But, the more Kolya was involved in the other short stories, the more I liked him. He has tragic story. After reading, I felt my heart break knowing the life he had lived. There were many tragic events in his life such as finding out his first love married another man and aborted their baby, losing both parents, and being forced to fight in a war in order to survive. But despite everything that has happened, Kolya finds peace in the end. (っ˘̩╭╮˘̩)っ

One of my favorite stories in this collection of short stories had to be The Leopard. It was about an art censor who was devoted to his country and what it stood for. He would insert images of his brother in every image he was working on. His brother was executed for his religious beliefs and was seen as a traitor. My favorite part of this story had to be when the art censor told his nephew the fairy tale about the tsar being in the background. This was the only story that made me cry. It was really sad to know what happened to the art censor and how he was forced to admit he committed a crime when in fact he was innocent. I loved how the art censor’s legacy (his works) stood the test of time. In a Temporary Exhibition, it is revealed that the art censor’s nephew, Vladimir, was the person responsible for the arrest and execution of his uncle. This story takes place in 2010s when Vladimir is already in his 60s. He is overwhelmed by how technology has advanced, and is curious about the fate of his father and uncle. His son helps locate a exhibition that has his uncle’s works, and it is there that Vladimir learns the truth about the fairy tale his uncle told him several decades ago. He learns that his father was painted in the background of every photographer his uncle worked on. The motivation for framing his uncle was because he believed that his uncle sold out his father, and he wanted revenge. He was only a child when it happened and he only wanted justice, but Vladimir never thought that his uncle was going to die.

What I didn’t like about this book was how each story was not in chronological order. I did get confused at times. It would be set in the present and then it would be set in the past. The reason why my rating is a 3.5 instead of a 4 is because I couldn’t really connect with the characters, and I fell asleep reading this book multiple times. Other than that, I really loved how all the stories connected with each other. For example, all throughout the book Zakharov’s painting is constantly referenced since it helps characters connect with each other.

I’d liked to thank Blogging for Books for receiving this book to review. 

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5) ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ 

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