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Vaclav & Lena: A Novel
by Haley Tanner

Published: 2012-02-07
Paperback : 320 pages
1 member reading this now
4 clubs reading this now
1 member has read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 3 members

NAMED BY THE NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION AS A 5 UNDER 35 AUTHOR

Vaclav and Lena seem destined for each other. They meet as children in an ESL class in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Vaclav is precocious and verbal. Lena, struggling with English, takes comfort in the safety of his adoration, his ...

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Introduction

NAMED BY THE NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION AS A 5 UNDER 35 AUTHOR

Vaclav and Lena seem destined for each other. They meet as children in an ESL class in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Vaclav is precocious and verbal. Lena, struggling with English, takes comfort in the safety of his adoration, his noisy, loving home, and the care of Rasia, his big-hearted mother. Vaclav imagines their story unfolding like a fairy tale, or the perfect illusion from his treasured Magician’s Almanac. But one day, Lena does not show up for school. She has disappeared from Vaclav and his family’s lives as if by a cruel sleight of hand. For the next seven years, Vaclav says goodnight to Lena without fail, wondering if she is doing the same somewhere. On the eve of Lena’s seventeenth birthday he finds out. In Vaclav & Lena, Haley Tanner has created two unforgettable young protagonists who evoke the joy, the confusion, and the passion of having a profound, everlasting connection.

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Praise for Vaclav & Lena

“Wonderful and wrenching . . . Vibrant characters, believable romance and dark undertones make for a moving tale.”—The New York Times

“From the moment they meet, Vaclav and Lena make magic together. . . . Through all the twists and turns of the book, the most enduring theme of the novel is love.”—NPR

“Haley Tanner’s assured narrative voice finds new ways to describe emotion and character, stunning the reader again and again with small shocks of awareness. This book is sad, funny, true, and shot through with grace.”—Judy Blundell, National Book Award–winning author of What I Saw and How I Lied

“Highly recommended . . . Tanner’s captivating debut novel is a love story of unusual innocence and intensity [and] a suspenseful, literary work that is hard to put down.”—Library Journal

“A debut to savor . . . Tanner’s charming story unfolds as gracefully as a flower.”—People

“The magic Tanner makes is as dazzling as it is profound.”—Booklist

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Will the characters stay together for the long haul? What will become of them?
Is Vaclav's mother too intrusive? Does the character ring true?
by tompatrice (see profile) 01/12/12

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Vaclav & Lena"by karenmh (see profile) 01/22/14

It's a bit slow to start, our book group concluded, but then it really grabs you. The chapter headings were fascinating. We all loved Vaclav and felt bad for Lena and her horrid childhood. The author's... (read more)

 
  "Vaclav & Lena"by kdangle17 (see profile) 04/25/12

 
  "Complicated Story of Love Set in Brighton Beach"by tompatrice (see profile) 01/12/12

Not bad for a first novel and I hope to read more from this author in the years to come. She brings two Russian Immigrant family stories to life with Brighton Beach as the back drop. Complicated adult... (read more)

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