Monday, August 22, 2011

Vaclav and Lena

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner may just be my favorite book of the summer. It's one of those rare finds: literary fiction that kept me racing through it while I was reading it on the beach, and left me sorry to leave the the world of the story when I finally came to the end.

The novel follows two Russian immigrant children- Vaclav, the only son of old fashioned and overprotective parents, and Lena, daughter of an unknown mother and product of a much bleaker upbringing. They grow up together and develop a friendship against the Brooklyn backdrops of Coney Island and Brighton Beach. Lena disappears under mysterious circumstances one day, forcing each to lead separate lives until they are just as suddenly reunited years later. It's really a lovely story that somehow manages to seem like a modern day fairy tale while still taking a thoroughly unsentimental view of its characters.

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