Book Acquired, 2.01.2012

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Haley Tanner’s acclaimed novel Vaclav & Lena is new in trade paperback (excellent cover on this one, by the bye). From Page Pulp’s review:

You could try to categorize this book as a love story or an immigrant story, but it is really simply a human story.  Like life itself, it can be sometimes funny, sometimes awkward (like the scene where Vaclav’s father walks in on him getting out the tub and makes a wrong assumption about what Vaclav was doing), sometimes happy, sometimes sad, and yes, sometimes incredibly dark.  It reflects the human experience so well, but never feels cliché.  Tanner’s prose has a simplicity that mimics the characters’ imperfect English.  She creates beauty with her words, but is never too flowery. This allows the story to shine through, unobscured. Her characters almost do not seem like characters; after awhile they start to feel wondrously real, like you could reach out and touch Lena’s messy black curls.  Tanner is adept at shaping both the story and the characters so that they feel realistic.