Magazine article Russian Life

The Tsar of Love and Techno

Magazine article Russian Life

The Tsar of Love and Techno

Article excerpt

THE TSAR OF LOVE AND TECHNO

Anthony Marra (Hogarth, $25, October 2015)

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Marra's novel is a spider web stretched across one hundred years of Russian history, where a twinge on one filament resounds to some distant corner. Constructed as a group of loosely interwoven stories, The Tsar of Love and Techno is a profound musing on the Russian condition, and on the power of images, place, memory and character. It is by turns funny and sad, deep and profane, touching and disturbing. And everywhere you look there are beautiful turns of phrase:

   The poor child had inherited
   his father's forehead. His future
   lay under a hat.... Yellow fog
   enshrouded the city like a varnish
   aged upon the air.... All that was
   admirable in her lay between her
   neck and her ankles.... The phan-
   toms of two hundred thousand
   cigarettes and a street pirozhki
   haunted his breath. … 
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