A Non-Linear Narrative of Exceptional Richness

The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories, by Anthony Marra, (Hogarth), 352 pages, release date 6 October, 2015

If I had to guess which present-day writer is most apt to be lauded in another century or so, my guess would be Anthony Marra. There are books I love; there are books I revere. Marra’s works fit both these categories.

The Tsar of Love and Techno is presented as a story collection, but really it’s a novel with a deceptively loose structure. Its character cross several generations, some connected by blood ties, others by affection, still others by rivalry or by the mindless violence of an authoritarian government. It offers a ballerina, an artist, a B-list actress, a soldier, a man who deliberately injures himself to avoid becoming a soldier, small-time gangsters and drug dealers, an art historian losing her vision,  individuals who have—either deliberately or inadvertently—denounced relatives, setting off chains of events that lead to their death. Marra deftly binds these characters to one another within a non-linear narrative.

This is a book I will be reading repeatedly because its richness and complexity promise revelation after revelation, prose gem after prose gem. If you haven’t yet red Anthony Marra, start. If you’ve already read his two published books, then—like me—you can await the pleasures and challenges of his next work.

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