The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories by Anthony Marra

23995336Published: October 6th 2015 By: Hogarth

Genres: Adult-Fiction, Cultural, Short Stories, Historical, Russian Literature

e-ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

My Rating: 5 Stars Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | B & N | Book Depo | Kobo

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.

REVIEW I had been looking forward to reading this collection for a long time. I can certainly say that I will be adding this to my favorites shelf, and will read it again. I’ve always thought to myself that there’s a fine line between fact and fiction. In reality, it’s not. To create imagery with stories such as these, answers the questions that few people seem to understand. There is always truth in fiction. It’s up to the reader to grasp that truth, and then make the effort to connect with the characters. Only then will you enjoy what you are reading.

The Tsar of Love and Techno is a collection of stories, that are woven together to make one story that spans almost seven decades. Even after reading the first story, I was so lost inside this book that I completely lost track of time and was late for work. This is about  sacrifices, hardships, censorship, and most importantly – love. 1937 Russia was all about repression and censorship. What I love about this collection is the way Marra whips up the stories to let the reader discern the subtle liberalism that arcs through time. The stories are raw and thick, and will leave you with a sense of awareness.

One thing I know about character makeup – you can’t judge one by first impression. When one appears to be terrible, you soon learn otherwise as you read on. The painting that connects the dots makes it all clear in the end. I just wish there were more stories to read! I didn’t want it to end, and if this is the way that Marra constructs all of his work, I can’t wait to read more. I really love this book, and of you are a fan of short stories – or anything to do with Russian history – then you will not put this book down. The writing is amazing and the characters emotions jump out at you. I highly recommend this book!


9 thoughts on “The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories by Anthony Marra

  1. After reading this review of yours I have gone and added it to my TBR. I know we have a similar reading taste and this one just sounds SO wonderful. It seems like when you started it you fell in love with the stories and each one brought you something new and taught you another life lesson which was valuable and well worth knowing. I can’t wait to dive into this book myself at some point in the future.


    • It’s really good. I think this is my favorite read this year. Yes, it trumped all the other 5 stars I’ve read this year so far. You should definitely try it and see if it’s something you’d like.


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