Home > Senior Fiction, Young Adult > Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner. Pub. William Heinemann, imprint Random House, 2011.

This is an outstanding novel for secondary school students and young adults. I doubt whether adult writers could write as well as this.  It is the story of the life and destiny of three people and at the heart of it is a despicable hurt.

Vaclav and Lena are immigrants to America from Russia in the 1990’s and they settle in the Brighton area of New York. Lena lives a neglected life with her aunt, while Vaclav lives a protected life with his magnificent mother, Rasia, and his aloof vodka drinking father Oleg.

Vaclav meets Lena when they are  4 & 5 years old and by the time they are 9 & 10 Vaclav has enveigled Lena into his dreams of becoming a magician. They are as close as two friends can get. Then one night Rasia sees something that she keeps to herself and Lena is taken in for her own protection and the two do not see each other until they are 17 years old.

Although apart Vaclav and Lena are with each other all the time in their thoughts. When they meet again  the explosive truth is revealed and they are opened up like a couple of eggs hitting the floor.

Just brilliant. Once you start this book you will get so involved you won’t want to put it down. The writing as told in a Russian accent will nail you to the floor. The lives of Lena and Vaclav are laid bare before your eyes in a style that will make you weep with desire.

Simply one of the best novels I have ever read.

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