This book made me fall in love with literary fiction again. The Tsar of Love and Techno is a series of connected short stories that take place mainly in Chechnya, cover about a century of time, and keep circling around a beautiful landscape painting that ties the characters together.
First, I loved it because I don’t know much about Chechnya and have forgotten what I ever learned about the Russian Revolution many years ago. Second, Marra is so damn invested in his characters. War, drug addiction, pollution: these are people living through rough things, and I feel lots of sympathy towards most of the characters. Finally, I was impressed by the structure. Characters go in and out of the stories, and I know I missed some connections between people and across generations that I’d love to untangle more.
My favorite stories in the book were in the first half but the last half was in no means sub-par: the first stories just set an incredibly high bar.
The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra
Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher via Blogging for Books