Vaclav and Lena

Haley Tanner. Dial, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6931-6
Tanner's romantic and moving debut tells the story of two children, both born of Russian immigrants in Brooklyn, whose lives intertwine from an early age. Vaclav is a precocious eccentric devoted to list making. Lena is a quiet, stubborn, secretive child. The pair, as children, imagine themselves destined for fame as magicians on the Coney Island boardwalk, though, in Lena's case, their friendship is a refuge from something worse. They hole up in Vaclav's room to refine their act each day while Vaclav's mother, Rasia, watches over them with gnawing concern and makes a quiet effort to intervene in Lena's life. The horrid specter of adolescence changes their relationship, but the abyss where Lena's family should be and the fact that Vaclav can't understand what happens when his friend goes home, all threaten to sever their connection. But this is a love story, and these two keep faith over the years, with each building an emotional shrine to their relationship until a reconnection years later proves to be magnetic, stormy, and revelatory. If the final reveal doesn't live up to the emotional crescendo that's been building throughout the novel, readers will nevertheless be more than taken by the one-of-a-kind relationship between two magnificent characters. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 292 pages - 978-0-307-39935-9
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-93271-6
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-434-02043-0
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-307-39936-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-93274-7
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-8129-8163-6
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-434-02044-7
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-307-39937-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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