The Tsar Of Love And Techno lends a dark outlook on life in and after the USSR. Using a number of narratives each subtly related to one another, Marra describes the different kinds of life this country created from a variety of perspectives.
Beginning with descriptions of the brainwashed denial and uncompromising loyalty among the general population, living within the all consuming party state, the scene is certainly set for the rest of the novel. Poverty and atrocity are not only rife but the norm, in a country where but a whisper can mean another’s certain death.
As the novel progresses into the aftermath of this time, looking to the modern day rather than the frightening past of dictatorship, out of poverty appears a type of hope and enjoyment attainable only in the most desperate of conditions. Focusing on the forlorn decrepitude of Kirovsk, where men leave it’s polluted airs for an ever waging neighbouring war, crime is the most plausible means of making money, and death is no stranger.
Marra has a very encapsulating writing style, interjecting his narrative with frequent thought-provoking and artful lines. The harsh world of pollution and corruption is thereby cast in a whimsical light, a story which one can only whisper. For any with an understanding of Russian history, this is a particularly interesting read, lending life on the ground to the nameless masses.
Length: 336 (Hogarth)
Overall Rating: 5 stars