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Virtuoso

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3.47  ·  Rating details ·  62 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Jana was born in Prague shortly after the self-immolating Czech martyrs Jan Palach and Jan Zajic committed their ritual protestations against Soviet influence. As Communism began to crumble, Jana's unremarkable life becomes more remarkable when a precocious young girl named Zorka moves into the apartment building with her mother and sick father. With her signature ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Expected publication: January 14th 2020 by Two Dollar Radio (first published January 3rd 2019)
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Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  62 ratings  ·  17 reviews


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Ova - Excuse My Reading
After finishing, I thought this book was a bit Daisy Johnson's Everything Under. It's sad, poetic, almost a modern fairy tale. The characters are floating in the story but in a really nice way.
It took me a while to get what's going on. You might want to start reading with 0 information. If so, do not read the rest of this review.

Jana is working as a translator, she is gay and still remembers the weird attraction of her childhood, her friend Zorka, who suddenly disappeared. Jana meets with Aimee,
...more
Blair
Nobody writes like Yelena Moskovich, and this novel is aptly named. I consumed Virtuoso in sips like it was the richest hot chocolate I’d ever had. But at the end I was left with a mildly disappointing bitter taste.

It opens with a woman being found dead in a hotel room by her wife, and works both backwards and forwards from there, with a focus on the lives of two characters. One of them is Aimée, the wife in the opening scene. The other is Jana, who will later cross paths with Aimée. Originally
...more
Joc
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lesbian
I’m not entirely sure what to make of this but at no point did I want to stop reading it. I was sucked in by the imagery and descriptions and was completely engaged in wanting to know more about the characters.

Virtuoso starts off in third person omniscient where the wife gets back to her hotel room and finds the body. There's a dream-like quality to the rushing around of the hotel staff, paramedics and the wife until she has to sign the papers. We've been introduced to Aimée de Saint-Pé.

Then it
...more
Declan
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yelena Moskovich’s new novel develops depth and passion as it progresses, while never losing a sense of humour. All its early connections develop and entwine. No character is central, because the novel is multi-voiced and unconcerned about the insistence of plot.
Full review here: https://drb.ie/essays/symphony-in-blue
Kate (Reading Through Infinity)
1.5 stars
TWs: suicide, sexual assault, rape, physical abuse, racism.

I thought this book was going to be a mesmerising sapphic tale, but sadly it was just very strange and uncomfortable to read. Virtuoso follows two queer couples as their lives intertwine throughout the decades across the US and Czech Republic, and they come to realise what they want out of life. The narrative and plot were both fragmented, meaning it was often difficult to tell which era we were reading about and where the
...more
Siobhan
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Virtuoso is a stylistic piece of literary fiction that circles around the lives of a number of women. Jana's Czech childhood was interrupted by raven-haired Zorka, a whirlwind who then disappeared. Jana is now an interpreter in Paris for a Czech medical company, where she meets Aimée, who is mourning the death of her wife. And in an internet chatroom, an American girl plots to rescue a Czech housewife from her husband.

Dreamlike in its narrative and in many of its descriptions, the novel moves
...more
Anya
Nov 07, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, netgalley
Virtuoso was a weird novel full of peculiar descriptions and metaphors.
Often you found out more from what was in between the lines than of what was said.

I had a few issues.

I usually don't have a problem with vulgar,sexual or strong language or content, but if a 7-year old girl wants to be more "molestable", then that's just not okay for me.
I was not a fan of the constant change of perspective. I believe the author intended to create some confusion, but the layout and jumping around didn't make
...more
Mallory
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Weird.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/
'And yet, there is an extra weight within the room, like a movement finishing itself.'

This novel shifts so much from story and perspective that it may lose a few readers in the process but for those of us that like these little roller coaster reads, hang on! Two Dollar Radio serves up another gem of a novel in Yelena Moskovich’s latest madness. The novel starts with a dead body, but hang on…. This is a coming of age at the end of the Soviet era,
...more
Nicki Markus
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Virtuoso was certainly a fascinating piece of literature. It had a dreamlike quality that pulled me in and kept me turning the pages. The prose was beautiful and lyrical, and I loved the raw yet emotional portrayal of the women in the cast. This is a novel that requires concentration as we weave from one story to the next and back again, but I enjoyed piecing everything together. This is a book with plenty to say that will leave you pondering for days after you close the final page. That said, I ...more
Anne Goodwin
Prague in the dying days of communism, and seven-year-old Jana gets a new best friend. Jana is sweet and studious, Zorka repeatedly runs away from home. For a few years, the girls are inseparable, until Zorka disappears one last time.

Fast forward to the 90s, and Jana works as a translator in Paris. At a medical supplies exhibition she bumps into Aimée: to her a chance encounter soon forgotten, but the reader’s met Aimée already, on the first page, when she returns to her hotel room to find the
...more
Andrew
Oct 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, lgbtq
Virtuoso jumps through time involving three pairs of sapphic women, ranging from childhood friends. marriage, and scandal. The paths of these women sync and blend together like waves, written in an almost abstract form. These are loves intertwined with melancholy and mystery. I will admit sometimes I'm not at all sure what is going on, but nevertheless, I was engaged in its format. As their stories unfold, you may feel like rereading again and again to put together all the pieces.
Sophie
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review
Definitely written in a unique and interesting style, with mesmerising and flowing prose; I can see why it has been compared to the dreamy qualities of Lynchian films.

This copy was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review by the publisher via NetGalley.
Hannah Swanwick
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.8
but 4 because
Saya
Feb 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was so distracting that she kept using the word "discretely" when she meant "discreetly."
ya na
Apr 17, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, 2019-list
I got really excited at the prospect of a queer novel from a culture closer to my own. Instead, I got a novel that tried so very hard to pull off a Central European version of the Murakami / Nothombe aesthetic by stylizing and fixating on key cultural aspects in the entirely wrong way.

It's just successfully synthesized, concentrated, and essentially repeated some of the most damaging stereotypes and tropes surrounding Central/Eastern European women and culture and tried to make it consumable
...more
Agnese
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, ebook, fiction
A somewhat fragmented, dreamlike story about a group of queer women and how their lives intertwine over the course of many years. The book slightly reminded me of Crimson in how the traditional narrative is interspersed with chat room conversations. The narrative constantly drifts back and forth in time and between perspectives to slowly reveal the connections between these women, however, this stylistic choice also made it difficult to keep track of the story, or I (probably) just didn't have ...more
Ayeza Raza
rated it it was ok
Feb 17, 2019
Veronica Heney
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Jul 27, 2019
Clara G
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Jul 20, 2019
Kylie Whitehead
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Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
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Jul 05, 2019
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Jun 21, 2019
Katharine Coldiron
rated it it was amazing
Apr 29, 2019
Karolina
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May 25, 2019
Tess
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Erin
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Jun 23, 2019
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Yelena Moskovich was born in 1984 in Ukraine (former USSR) and emigrated to the US with her family in 1991. After graduating with a degree in playwriting from Emerson College, Boston, she moved to Paris to study at the Lecoq School of Physical Theatre, and later for a Masters degree in Art, Philosophy and Aesthetics from Universite Paris 8. Her plays have been produced in the US, Vancouver, Paris, ...more
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