Book Talk – One Book One Marin
The 2017 One Book One Marin selection is The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.
Join us for a discussion of the book with Librarian, Pam Klein.
From Booklist – “Starred Review” – This powerful collection of interconnected short stories by the gifted Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, 2013) spans the gamut of the Russian experience, covering the years 1937 to the present. In the opening story, The Leopard, set in 1930s Leningrad in the catacombs beneath the city, Roman Markin, a censor working for the government, meticulously removes all traces of so-called dissidents from paintings and photographs. In their place, he creates images of his late brother, from boyhood to old age. Roman is driven by guilt for having informed on his brother, seeking to preserve his brother’s image and his own grief. Art is one defense against the bleak, oppressive society created under communism; another is the biting black humor of the hopeless. In The Grozny Tourist Bureau, the former deputy director of an art museum has been recruited as tourism director of his bombed-out city. Well aware of the absurdity of his mission, he seeks inspiration in the pamphlets from the tourism bureaus of other urban hellscapes: Baghdad, Pyongyang, Houston. Marra, in between bursts of acidic humor, summons the terror, polluted landscapes, and diminished hopes of generations of Russians in a tragic and haunting collection.–Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2015 Booklist
Marra was a 2011–2013 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Currently, he teaches at Stanford University as the Jones Lecturer in Fiction. He has lived and studied in Eastern Europe, and now resides in Oakland, CA.