An Exaltation of Larks (Venery) Paperback – 22 Nov 2016
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This book is epic, sweeping a over a 20 years arc framed and punctuated by some of the most tragic of world wide events. The writing is rich and sensual - like chocolate, a treat for a rainy, cold day.
The plot intertwines the lives of the protagonists in the most realistic manner and while it is sustained by some outstanding writing it never skirts on the difficulties of the characters lives and choices.
Val is one of the most beautiful fictional women I have read in a long time: she is creative, emotionally intelligent and understands love - with Alex, her siblings, her daughter and Jav - in all its facets. She is strong and vulnerable at the same time, loyal and brave. I was in awe.
Her relationship with Alex, her marriage, is beautifully portrayed from the early childhood years to the story's present. In particular I loved and appreciated how these two work at making it work, how they understand the difference between "wanting" and "having".
Jav was also a splendidly written character especially in showing the reader an emotionally stunted man who has a whole lot of growing up to do when it comes to being loved and love in return. In the most loose and distant way he reminded me of Hsin Vega, another male character with a lot of circumstances that stunt his emotional growth.
To go into the details would spoil the novel and I am uncomfortable doing that.
This was a beautiful read for me, I loved it so much I actually order the paperback, it will be tomorrow before I wrap myself around the second book cause if I go in now I'll do naught and there's a house full of the proverbial unwashed children to be taken care of.
A note: Alex is forced to move from Chile in the aftermath of 11/9/1973, he speaks Spanish frequently; Javier is of Dominican origin but born in New York, he also speaks Spanish frequently. Although I understand them I have no reference to establish whether the Spanish they speak is genuine to the characters that they are. It felt genuine to me but I'd welcome feedback on it from native speakers.
Another note: this book was, IMO, mislabeled as "romance mmf", the careless labeling diminished the scope of the novel, mislead readers on its contents and ultimately may have kept some from reading it. I found this was a book about love with several queer characters where the story was focused on how they all relate to each other instead of said characters orientation. It was also blissfully void of the cliches of many romance novels and that made it a joy to read.
AN EXALTATION OF LARKS is an emotional read from the offset but what wowed me the most was the unpredictable nature of how the book played out. I never once knew what was around the corner and often my suspicions were inaccurate; this is a plot of plots. It is a book full of depth, focused on families, with characters that plead for you to invest in them, and you do. Jav was my prime focus, the man I was championing for; a complex man but his journey over a number of years was addictive reading. Alex was such a solid, dependable character who surprised himself and me. Val was a character I didn't really take to and I suspect that may be purposeful writing. Ari was just such a compelling read and the twist involving him was mighty.
This book has left me agog at the writing and story development. I truly rate Suanne Laqueur as a special piece of talent, I hear her other work is also wonderful so I have a need to devour the rest over the coming months.
I know this is the vaguest review but I recommend this to anyone and everyone as a absorbing, out-of-the-box read; it will refresh your palate and leave a mark. Biggest thanks to Melissa for the best recommendation I have had in some time.
I don't think I can find the words to do this amazing book the justice it deserves. It was simply amazing though out and is going to stay with me for a very long time and I can't recommend this book highly enough. It's incredible and I can't wait to read more from this talented author.
I don't know whether I will ever read it again, because I don't know whether I could bear to. First book in a long, long time to make me cry. But I would not want you to think it is all angst. There is love and laughter, life and death, sex and friendship, mothers, daughters, lovers, sons, husbands, brothers...
I love Jav. I so want to read the rest of his story and will be starting Book 2 tonight.
I strongly recommend you try this one. I read a review on JoyfullyJay which made me want to read it. I am so pleased I did!