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THE TSAR OF LOVE AND TECHNO by Anthony Marra

Recommended by: Dave
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The Tsar of Love and Techno illustrates how objects from the past can thread through the years and weave a complete tapestry of history. This is a short story collection, but each story can also be seen as a chapter since the full story is told only after the final story ends.

The collection is set in Russia/the Soviet Union over the course of the 20th century to the modern day. The earliest story is set pre-World War II — during Stalin’s regime — with the latest set in the near future.

Marra is able to tell the story with emotion and imagery that belies the bleak setting of the USSR during the Cold War, all the while maintaining cohesion among the generations of characters throughout the story.

Fans of historical fiction, short fiction, and family sagas will enjoy this finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Fiction Books of 2015.

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NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney

Recommended by: Carrie B.

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Normal People is a coming-of-age story set in Dublin, Ireland, featuring two authentically flawed young people. Rooney's stark prose does a masterful job illustrating their social and emotional awkwardness, youthful narcissism, and naiveté. The characters are not shielded from their worst impulses and suffer the consequences of their actions. The ending left this reader with nostalgic feelings for the days of heady dreams, mistakes, miscommunication, and those formative relationships that anchor themselves deep into the soul and continue to resonate throughout life.

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