CapRadio Reads

CapRadio Reads is a book club and online reading community, hosted by Capital Public Radio. Moderator Vicki Lorini and host Donna Apidone encourage you to participate in person or on the website.

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The Writer as Artist

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 | Permalink

When I read a book that is truly excellent, it comes to me as a colorful painting. I can picture the characters in my head, and the landscape is so real, I think I could, if I had the artistic talent, create a photographic likeness of the author’s words.

Anthony Marra's new book of interconnected short stories, The Tsar of Love and Techno, is such a book.  Russia, especially in the winters of Stalin and the Communist Era, is often described as a bleak, white-washed landscape. I had imagined it as cold and barren for miles. 

After reading The Tsar, I still think of northern Asia as bleak, but now I imagine so many bright spots. The leopard print, on the bathing suits at Lake Mercury, is as clear and bright as that animal in a rain forest.  The hand, purposely left visible in the otherwise doctored photograph of a ballerina, is pink and healthy in my mind’s eye. Marra turns the dark, cold setting into a full technicolor home movie.  His characters are so three-dimensional, they pop right off the pages.

There are so many things I want to ask Marra about these people and places. I can't wait to see him again. If you received this book for Christmas, or if you bought it as a gift for yourself, get right into it, and then get yourself a ticket to our party. 

Anthony Marra will be "in conversation" with CapRadio’s Donna Apidone on Tuesday, January 26 at 6 p.m.  The wine will flow and the talk will be smart, so don't miss this event. We'll see you there.

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