The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra - review by Liam Hess

Liam Hess

Back in the USSR

The Tsar of Love and Techno

By

Hogarth 320pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

An oligarch’s ballerina wife, a prisoner of war in Chechnya, a boy from St Petersburg who dreams of becoming a DJ: these are just some of the colourful, exhilarating characters who populate Anthony Marra’s collection of interlocking short stories, released in the US last year to critical acclaim and now published in the UK. A work of extraordinary confidence and empathy, The Tsar of Love and Techno functions more as a novel than a series of short pieces, leaping across decades, countries and social strata to deliver an offbeat take on the impact and legacy of the Soviet Union on a human scale.

The first story describes the work of an artist employed by the government to doctor and airbrush paintings and photographs of ministers, establishing the guiding themes of the book: the ethics of truth and deception, social responsibility and the redemptive possibilities of art. During the painter’s imprisonment for

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter