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The Tsar of Love and Techno

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  12,674 ratings  ·  2,151 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena—dazzling, poignant, and lyrical interwoven stories about family, sacrifice, the legacy of war, and the redemptive power of art.

This stunning, exquisitely written collection introduces a cast of remarkable characters whose lives intersect in ways both life-affirming and heartbreaking. A 1930s Soviet c
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Hogarth Press
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Nancy When I googled for Rousseau's Leopard, I found it in a Pintrest collection called the Tin Forest, which let to this

Wonder if Marra made the…more
When I googled for Rousseau's Leopard, I found it in a Pintrest collection called the Tin Forest, which let to this

Wonder if Marra made the same connections?(less)
Christopher Although this was billed as a series of short stories I thought there were very clear connections between them. It read as a complete novel to me. I…moreAlthough this was billed as a series of short stories I thought there were very clear connections between them. It read as a complete novel to me. I loved it!(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  12,674 ratings  ·  2,151 reviews

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Julie Christine
Yesterday in a bookstore, I saw a customer holding Jess Walter's remarkable 2013 short story collection, We Live in Water. We got to chatting about this favorite author and I waxed enthusiastic about the book. The man flipped through its pages and said, "Oh. No. These are short stories. I want a book." He set it aside and wandered away. I died a little inside.

Imagine missing astonishing writing and gripping narrative simply because a world is contained ten or twenty pages instead of three hundred. I get th
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
How do I even begin to review this wonderful book. I'm going to try my best without giving too many spoilers

This book moved me, touched my heart and made me sad on so many levels. The tales the author weaves of these people and their lives, how they all inter-connect is just beautiful. Beautifully sad....




This is where the story begins. Roman Markin - Department of Partysad....
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Dear Anthony Marra,

I'm sure you are very busy but I was wondering: is there any way you might be available to write this review for me? I cannot possibly articulate the raw beauty and abject pain that lies between the covers of this transformative book. The writing is masterful, magical, mesmerizing. I need that writing to describe your powerful, beautiful, lyrical book. There were so many lines I would have highlighted that had the book not belonged to our library, the pages would have been
Kevin Ansbro
"We have art in order not to die of the truth."

Привет, everyone!

In Anthony Marra's ambitious novel, we find his incarnation of a Russian matryoshka doll, crammed with interlocking stories, each component fashioned to reveal something new.
Through his expository prose we see how the butterfly effect of one simple photograph (that of a disgraced ballerina) echoes through decades of Soviet rule.

Although tantalised by friends' reviews of this book, I was somewhat dubious to b
Angela M
Every time I read a collection of short stories, I say the same thing in my review - that I'm not a lover of short stories, but I always have a good reason why I decided to read that particular collection . In this case , the very good reason is how much I loved Anthony Marra's , A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. I am so very glad that I didn't miss out because I prefer longer fiction . I don't know how I can possibly do justice in this review to the brilliant story telling and beautiful writing here . ...more
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Magnifico! This had me shaking my head in awe. Anyone who knows me knows I dislike the short stories - they usually leave me only wanting more, hence, I rarely pick them up. This one, having been purchased after I read the beloved,A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, I knew I had to get to as this author has talent.

Ah such raw talent. This is
I loved it, I loved it not. I know I’m sounding all dramatic, but I’m pretty weirded out that I could hate picking up a book that I loved so much when I opened it. Oh, so much to love! The intriguing and complex characters, the perfectly rendered scenes, the vivid landscapes, the rich metaphors. I think the best part is the way the stories are linked: each new story zeros in on some character in the previous story, and a whole new world opens up. The author set himself up for an ambitious task, ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena might be my favourite read of the year. Unfortunately I didn’t love this as much. Because at a certain point I found myself comparing it unfavourably to David Mitchell and especially Cloud Atlas. Like Cloud Atlas it’s a novel of connected short stories and like Cloud Atlas employs a number of narrative voices. For me Mitchell had full command of all the distinctive voices in Cloud Atlas which I didn’t find to be the case here. All the components of Cloud Atlas for me ...more
Elyse Walters
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"I never imagined that something as solemn and final as death could be this
idiotic. It was the keyhole through which I first glimpsed life's madness: the
institutions we believe in will pervert us, our loved ones will fail us, and death is
a falling piano."

Siberia, Chechnya, and Leningrad...Saint Petersburg....from 1937 to 2013...,
A collection of stories woven together ....
Horrific hardships, betrayal, censorship, loss, and love.

These stories are as powe
Iris P
The Tsar of Love and Techno

Anthony Marra photo schreibe-nicht-ueber-das-was-du-schon-kennst-schreibe-ueber-das-was-du-kennenlernen-moechtest-anthony-marra-hat-einen-grandi_zps3rv5a1rb.jpg
Anthony Marra - The Author
"A half-century had passed—and with it the Soviet Union, Marxism-Leninism, the infallible tenets of communism that had undergirded her faith—and now she found herself the citizen of a nation politically enfeebled and spir
Diane S ☔
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved his first novel and though this is a book of short stories, I loved this one too. It is not often that one can read a book of shorts, connected thought they are and feel like one has indeed read a whole novel. This one starts with a censor in the 1930's, under Stalin and continues back and forth until the present. The stories are connected through people, photographs, places and a painting. The images and descriptions are powerful, the prose amazing, at times there is even humor of the i ...more
Matthew Quann
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of David Mitchell, experimental story structure lovers, stories from around the world
Shelves: favourites
This is a fairly long review, so, the tl;dr: run to your local shop/library and check out Marra’s excellent sophomore novel. I loved it!

The mixtape is as sacred a token as you are likely to find among music fans.

Being handed a disc with artists and songs you’ve never heard is akin to being introduced to a new world. Part of the fun in crafting and receiving music in an increasingly obsolete reflective disc is that you never really know what to expect. A bass-booming hip-hop banger could j
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2016
An absolute M*A*S*T*E*R*P*I*E*C*E. I would give this 6 stars if I could! It took me 2 weeks to read just because I couldn't keep myself from dawdling and poring over every sentence. I have so many bookmarks in this book I can't even close it!

I'll try to do a proper review later but I am not sure I can craft any review that will do this justice.
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Like everyone else on GRs, I’ve read a lot of books. Because of that, I can’t read a novel without simultaneously appraising the author’s work. Part of my of brain is engrossed in the plot, and another part is looking at metaphors and larger themes.
I have an ambivalent relationship with that inner critic. On the one hand, I truly enjoy thinking about writing while I’m reading it, but on the other hand, I sometimes miss being able to surrender my entire self to a good book.
Not so with The Tsar
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
The Nutcracker's Cosmonautic March

I rarely complete a short story collection although I've put my hands on at least several dozen. I'll read one or two but eventually return to the novel and the common and traditional Freytag's Pyramid, forgetting about the remainder of the nice, but less than compelling, stories that offer me the author's *wit and wisdom* in the form of a meditative slice of life after which I respond with a blank stare or at best an "oh, hmmm...." The rare exception occurs when t
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Phenomenal. Just hand Mr. Marra the Pulitzer right now. 5 stars and an entire constellation to boot.

His earlier work, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena absolutely blew my doors off, so I had this one paid for in a pre-order. When I noticed that this would be a collection of short stories, the groan grinding out of me was painful. Regardless the author, I never have time to connect with the characters in little stories.

WRONG! WRONGWRONG. Very wrong. A friend recently suggested tha
The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories by Anthony Marra is a 2015 Hogarth publication.

I confess I had no idea what to expect from this book. It was recommended to me by a friend on social media and due to the topic of conversation we were having at the time, I got the wrong impression about the book’s premise.

So, suffice it to say, I was taken aback by this collection of short stories that were interconnected by paintings, photography and various other art forms as it spans an enormous period of
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really appreciate fiction that engages intelligently with its historical and political context, and The Tsar of Love and Techno does just that. In 9 interconnected stories set in Chechnya and Russia at different times over the past 80 years, Marra depicts the harsh lives of a number of connected characters. Marra conveys powerfully his characters' circumstances and inner realities -- the traps laid down for them by political and historical circumstances and the thought traps they have made for ...more
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This may be one of the best story collections I have ever had the opportunity to read (and thank you to Constant Reader for scheduling it this month). The stories move about in time over 80 years of Russian history and, while that history is primarily in the background, its affects on Russian people are front and center.

The stories are also integrated within the collection, not overtly, but definitely for the careful reader. Familiar names and situations return, though in a different
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books
Another very special book by this amazing author. This time he has written a collection of short stories but it turns out to be a very special collection.

As you progress through the book you begin to realise that every story is linked. You need to stay very alert because they are not necessarily in any particular order and there are many different characters. I did have to turn back a few times to be sure who I was reading about and how they related to the whole picture, but that was
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Robin by: Perry
I finished this book with my eyes burning with half-formed tears. Such is the exquisite beauty that sings at the heart of this work.

This is a collection of short stories, but this book reads more like a novel, as the stories link together - not to create a "story" in the traditional sense, but an elegant and profound unfolding of the lives of those depicted.

Set in the former Soviet Union, spanning the years of 1937 - 2014, the stories are set in such a bleak, fear-infeste
This collection of tightly linked short stories, an intimate look at Russia and Chechnya in wartime and afterwards, reveals how politics, family, and art intertwine. Ranging from 1937 to 2013, the pieces show how fear and propaganda linger in the post-Stalinist era. In art as much as in politics, it can be difficult to distinguish airbrushed history from bitter reality. Just as he did in his excellent debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Marra renders unspeakable tragedies bearable because of ...more
Cathrine ☯️
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 ★
Technical merit 5.0 Reading enjoyment 4.0

I’d like to say first that last year A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena was one of my favorite reads, if not the best, and set the standard for everything that came after. I wasn’t writing reviews at the time but awarded it the rare-from-me five stars. Definitely a hard act to follow.

After finishing The Tsar of Love and Techno I skimmed through reviews looking at the overall ratings. You can believe all the accolades and stars attached to t
Diane Barnes
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has to be one of the most beautiful books I've ever read, although I didn't realize that until the very end. So much of it was so brutal and ugly, these people's lives and living conditions in the USSR throughout history. The way these short stories interconnected with each other until coming full circle at the end was nothing short of brilliant.

"The world will give you pig shit," her mother had once told her. "The secret to a happy life is learning to accept it as pork sausage."
Sep 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
History is the error we are forever correcting. (The Leopard)

4.5 Stars. I can't read Anthony Marra without highlighting half the book! The Tsar of Love and Techno consists of nine interconnected short stories spanning over 75 years in Chechnya and Russia. It addresses the futility of trying to erase people and events, human adaptability, the absurdity of life and war, and the smallness of our lives in relation to the enormity of the universe.

It takes nothing less than the whole might of the state to erase a person, but o
/>4.5 ...more
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Brothers and uncles and granddaughters and those who will never be grandmothers: Family relationships are in the forefront of the interrelated stories in this book, even while war, repression and the threat of that gaping hole-in-the-ground that awaits us all suppress parts of their humanity. Not many characters (right now I can think of only one) would be considered ‘good’: having to go into survival mode from the age of four will do that to a person. Yet none of the oppression hal
I know this is referred to as a short story collection, and I can see why, but it is not that for me. For me, it was a novel with a structure that is so different that it defies being categorized. Every story, from the first heart-wrenching moment to the last, is tied to its predecessor by a gossamer thread, at first so thin and insubstantial that it hardly seems to exist, and then stronger and stronger, until it has taken us full-cycle and sewn us into a world that is so interconnected as to be ...more
Anthony Marra’s new novel uses the format of interlocking stories woven into one narrative. His last novel, The Constellation of Vital Phenomena, was about residents of Chechnya fighting Russian soldiers. This, his second novel, captures those Russian fighters: we see who they are, why they are, what they do. We see their humanity, their crushable-ness, the love they have for one another. They know no more about Chechnya than they do about life outside their village. The stories are a feat of empathy. ...more
Connie G
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love Anthony Marra's wonderful storytelling! His writing was beautiful in "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena", and he's impressed me again with this collection of interconnected short stories set in Russia from 1937 to the present. There is more character development than in most short stories since each story is fairly long, and characters tend to show up again in later stories.

The first story is set in Leningrad during the Stalin regime. Roman, a Russian artist turned censor, ha
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's not short stories. It's one big story broken into scenes. And it's astounding.

I'm now an Anthony Marra fan for life. Not only are his books emotionally manipulative and draining - in a good way! - but he knows how to set a book in Russia. Or at least in the Russian literary milieu most Westerners picture. It's a country who's literature paints the most crushing pictures of society and war and suffering. But is also a literature that celebrates the dignity and genius and wonder o
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ANTHONY MARRA is the winner of a Whiting Award, Pushcart Prize, and the Narrative Prize. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize and the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in fiction, as well as the inaugural 2014 Carla Furstenberg Cohen Fiction Award. Marra’s novel was a National Book Award long list selection as well as a shortlist ...more
“You remain the hero of your own story even when you become the villain of someone else's.” 82 likes
“The calcium in collarbones I have kissed. The iron in the blood flushing those cheeks. We imprint our intimacies upon atoms born from an explosion so great it still marks the emptiness of space. A shimmer of photons bears the memory across the long dark amnesia. We will be carried too, mysterious particles that we are.” 46 likes
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