I have fallen in love with Vaclav & Lena
. I say this not for a lack of something more insightful, but because Haley Tanner's debut novel is simply so lovable. Her characters, quirky and vivid, are presented with the right mix of vulnerability and spunkiness, which quickly endears them to the reader. Upon finishing the novel, I was left feeling as though I had met good people - all flawed in some way and all full of good intentions. The last time I felt this way was while reading Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
(also a brilliant debut novel), and like Pettigrew
, Tanner's novel contains a realistic, character-driven narrative.
Vaclav & Lena
is also reminiscent of the widely acclaimed Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen; both are steeped in the ritz and charm of magic shows and circuses, but their distinction lies in how the two...
Beyond the Book
As a budding magician in Haley Tanner's novel Vaclav & Lena
, young Vaclav dreams of performing for the crowds on Coney Island. Synonymous with roller coasters and Nathan's hot dogs, Coney Island is a unique piece of the New York City metropolitan area (located in the southernmost region of Brooklyn) and has a fascinating
Construction for Coney Island's resorts began in 1829 with the establishment of the Coney Island House, a haven for New York's upper crust. Though development was temporarily halted during the Civil War (1861-1865), the beachfront location quickly became a popular place to escape the hot, humid city...