Saturday, May 5, 2012

Vaclav and Lena: Book Review




Vaclav & Lena
By Haley Tanner
Netgalley copy

Vaclav and Lena are two immigrant Russian children living in Brighton Beach, in Brooklyn.  Vaclav is very verbal and bright in school. Where Lena is quiet, and struggling learning in school. 

Vaclav loves magic, he is protected and loved by his parents. But, Lena is taken care of by her aunt.  Her home life is terrible. She is left by herself, most times when her aunt works at the club.  It is thought, and hinted that she lives in a abusive home, and her aunt is a drug addict.

Vaclav wants Lena to be in he's magic act and be he's assistant.  He agrees that he will do her homework if she will be he's assistant in he's magic act.  Vaclav brings Lena home, and he's mother observes Vaclav's doing her homework, she is eating from their refrigerator. She doesn't like this, but she is aware of her home life, and feels for her, and says and does nothing.

Instead Vaclav's  mother takes Lena under her wing, tries to be a substitute mother to her. She adores Lena and tries to help her in different ways.

They continue to practice the magic act.  The day before the magic act, Lena doesn't show up for class.  Vaclav comes home, and worries something is the matter. He tells his mother, she goes to Lena's house to find out what is the matter.  Vaclav's mother doesn't come back till the next day.

  We find out that his mother, tells him half truths, not the entire truth of the story of what happens.
Lena, like the magic trick, she vanishes. For seven years Vaclav doesn't know where Lena is. He feels something will happen to her if he doesn't say goodnight. They meet each other on Lena's birthday, when she turns 17. He finds out all along she was still in Brighton Beach.

He's life is interrupted by Lena coming back in he's life.  They learn, and we the readers learn the history of what happens to Lena's parents. How she came to the United States from Russia.

My Review: I have been wanting to read Vaclav and Lena since it came out. I did not know what the story was about.  It looked different than most other books I have read. At times I like to read magically, and quirky books.  This novel did fit the bill.  I am so happy, I read the novel.

I don't read books in one day usually three or four days. This one I read in one day.  I loved the writing style of the author. It actually felt like I was reading short stories.  The book takes place first when they are 7 years old.  Then when they are absent from each other. The last part when they find each other.  Then when we fast forward seven years.

It is a bittersweet  magical story of Vaclav and Lena. It is also the love of a mother and son. The love and magic of the two friends helped Lena survive.  It is possible that things can change for the better. It was a story about two friends trusting each other.  The story did not focus on the tragic life of Lena, but her moving on past her childhood.

  It was a sad story, but the end made it a satisfying read. I am glad I read Vaclav and Lena. 
Not everyone will enjoy reading, but if you like to read stories that are magical,  like I do, you will appreciate it. 

3 comments:

Marie said...

I've been wanting to read this since it came out. I need to make time for it soon. I'm glad to hear it was a quick read!

Irene said...

I've wanted to read this too. Thanks for your thoughts.

Irene said...

I've been wanting to read this too.

Check out my Review of Small Great Things

Check out my review of Jodi Picoult's novel, Small Great Things https://bagelsbooksandschmooze.blogspot.com/2017/08/small-great-things...