Title: The Tsar of Love and Techno
Author: Anthony Marra
Genre(s): Short fiction, literary, historical fiction, Russian culture, Russian history, drama, tragedy
I can’t recommend this book enough. This string of Soviet-era short stories is packed with emotional, powerful moments that sent chills up my spine, made me shiver and go “ooh, that was good.” Anthony Marra has a way with words and storytelling that frames and captures a vivid, bleak landscape of northern industrial Russia, and paints in a cast of characters whose triumphs and tragedies I resonated with as if they were my own. A myriad of relationships are explored, strengthened, and broken. Brotherhood transcends time, space, and the ruthless oppression of the Soviet Union. Romances spark, ignite, flicker, and fade. Regardless of your preference for novels or short stories, I believe The Tsar of Love and Techno is the best of both worlds by delivering the poignant snapshots of short stories while interconnecting them to impart the satisfaction of a full-fledged novel. Characters come back in ways you don’t expect and their arcs come in full circle, all revolving around a mysterious, obscure Russian painting. This is definitely a book you’d want to revisit to connect the dots and pick up details you had missed before.