Sunday 25 November 2018

Book Review: Virtuoso by Yelena Moskovich (Literary Fiction/LGBT)

Title: Virtuoso
Author: Yelena Moskovich
Serpent's Tail

Publication Date: 17 January 2019
eBook - PDF
Literary Fiction
ARC via NetGalley

For the first ten years of her life, Jana was a simple Czech girl, her days run with grey precision by the Czechoslovakian State Security. Then the raven-haired girl Zorka appeared. Jana, now an interpreter in Paris for a Czech medical supply company, hasn't seen Zorka in a decade.

Aimée is in Paris too, living under the shadow of a menacing blue cloud, mourning the death of her wife Dominique.

Meanwhile, in the ether of a lesbian internet chatroom, a teenager from the American Midwest who goes by the moniker 0_hotgirlAmy_0 plans to rescue Dominxxika_N39, a rural Czech housewife, from her tyrannical husband, a hospital bed salesmen.

As Aimée and Jana's stories slowly circle through the surreal fluctuations of the past and present, they lead inexorably together, to a mysterious bar on Paris's Rue de Prague...

Written with the dramatic tension of Euripidean tragedy and the dreamlike quality of a David Lynch film, Virtuoso is an audacious, mesmerising novel of grief, revolt, identity and first loves and last loves.

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 did struggle with the ending. I had expected things to come together a little more cohesively than they did, and I still had a lot of unanswered questions, especially regarding the chatroom romance. Still, it was certainly an exciting introduction to a new-to-me author, and I hope to read more of Yelena Moskovich's work in the future.

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