Monday, 28 September 2015

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

author- Leslye Walton
page count- 301 (hardcover)
Publisher- Candlewick press
publication date- March 27th 2014


The Roux family is marked by generations of foolish love, unrequited love and love lost. And for the youngest- Ava- this is no exception.

Born with the wings of a bird Ava has never been what you would call ‘normal’, sheltered from the outside world Ava yearns to explore the wider world and gain a deeper understanding about herself. 

But not everyone can be as understanding as her family and two choice friends. Na├»ve to the harsh realities of small town life Ava finds herself the fixture of Nathaniel Sorrows obsession, a twisted man with a burning desire that explodes the night of the summer solstice celebration.

It’s on this night that Ava’s story reaches its peak and it’s then that a decision will be made, will she loose herself like countless others in her family? Or will she decide that love doesn’t define you?

My opinion

This is easily one of the best books I have ever read, from start to finish I was hooked. I laughed, I cried and when it was over all I wanted was to read it again. Written in lyrical prose is a story spanning multiple generations of the Roux family and their quest for love and belonging with elements of magical realism weaved in; Contrary to the title it is not entirely focused on Ava who doesn’t come into the book until the second half. However don’t let that deter you, every character in this book is so painfully human each showing us what it’s like to succumb to the desires of the human heart, and how foolish and selfish we can be in the name of love.

“This time could be different. This time it could last. Maybe it would be a longer, deeper love: a real and solid entity that lived in the house, used the bathroom, ate their food, mussed up the linens in sleep. A love that pulled her close when she cried, that slept with its chest pressed against her back.”

Walton’s writing is so whimsical and beautiful evoking emotion from deep inside, making you feel inexplicable sorrow for these characters and their lives. What I loved most was that despite having an army of characters Walton still manages to make each of them so three dimensional and complex without losing focus on her writing. She creates a storm cloud of emotions surrounding each of the characters, all of whom I loved reading about- even if they did make my heart hurt most of the time.

“To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth—deep down, I always did.
I was just a girl.” 

I’d say that this book probably won’t appeal to everyone but even if magical realism isn't your thing give this book a chance, the fantastical aspects of the novel only add to its richness and uniqueness giving you a other-worldly yet beautifully real novel.

If I had to some up this book in one word it would be tragic. The anguish that I felt reading about the different generations of the Roux family and the quest for love was deeply real and they will stay with me for a long time.

                                                                       rating: 10/10

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