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Vaclav and Lena

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Vaclav and Lena Cover

ISBN13: 9781400069316
ISBN10: 1400069319
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Vaclav and Lena seem destined for each other. They meet as children in an ESL class in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Vaclav is precocious and verbal. Lena, struggling with English, takes comfort in the safety of his adoration, his noisy, loving home, and the care of Rasia, his big-hearted mother. Vaclav imagines their story unfolding like a fairy tale, or the perfect illusion from his treasured Magician’s Almanac, but among the many truths to be discovered in Haley Tanner’s wondrous debut is that happily ever after is never a foregone conclusion.

One day, Lena does not show up for school. She has disappeared from Vaclav and his family’s lives as if by a cruel magic trick. For the next seven years, Vaclav says goodnight to Lena without fail, wondering if she is doing the same somewhere. On the eve of Lena’s seventeenth birthday he finds out.

Haley Tanner has the originality and verve of a born storyteller, and the boldness to imagine a world in which love can overcome the most difficult circumstances. In Vaclav & Lena she has created two unforgettable young protagonists who evoke the joy, the confusion, and the passion of having a profound, everlasting connection with someone else.

Review:

"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)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Haley Tanner was born in 1982 in New York. She holds an MFA from the New School and a BA from Clark University. She lives in Brooklyn with her two dogs and her fiancé. This is her first novel.

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

rrplasko, April 22, 2012 (view all comments by rrplasko)
Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner was not just a good read, but also an insightful glimpse into the complexity of relationships. The book is a contrast between the world we try to protect children from and childhood fantasy. There were some dark undertones in Lena's life. For a first novel Ms Tanner is able to skillfully invite you into the lives of these three people fairly quickly. There are two stories told simultaneously, one of a boy and girl and the other of mother and son. For a quick read it leaves you with plenty to think about.
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FBB, January 8, 2012 (view all comments by FBB)
While this is a book of some very harsh realities, it is also just beautiful. Sometimes, perhaps, a "Romeo & Juliet," other times the tale of immigrant children struggling with tragic pasts. You will never forget the main characters: both Vaclav and Lena will stay with you for a very long time. As they should.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
FBB, August 19, 2011 (view all comments by FBB)
Scott Simon (NPR, Weekend Edition) recommended this book a few weeks ago. Enough for me!

When I finished reading this novel, I had to hug the book before returning it to my local library. "Vaclav & Lena" is a lovely, beautifully written book. Two Russian immigrant children (Vaclav and Lena) meet and are the best of friends as children, are separated for a number of years, and are re-united after that period of time. No, it's not completely a "happily-ever-after" ending but it is a hope-filled one. Tanner gives her characters just the right voices, and provides the reader with a beautiful read. You will NOT forget these characters after you read this book!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400069316
Author:
Tanner, Haley
Publisher:
Dial Press
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
20110531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.54 x 5.77 x 1.1 in 0.9 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Cultural Heritage

Vaclav and Lena Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Dial Press - English 9781400069316 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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