Friday 26 June 2015

The Strange and Beautiful Sollows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Love makes us such fools...

Pain in love appears to be a Roux family birthright, and for Ava Lavender, a girl born with the wings of a bird, it is key to her inheritance.

Longing to fit in with her peers, Ava ventures away from home, ill-prepared for what awaits her in a world that does not know whether to view her as girl or angel. 

Ava's quest and her family's saga build to a devastating crescendo until, on the summer solstice, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air and Ava’s fate is revealed.

A mesmerizing, lyrical tale of longing, desire and the nature of love.

I knew almost nothing about this book going in. I had head mixed things but nothing on plot. I'm glad I didn't, it meant I have no preconceptions about anything.The story was quite strange, it took a while to get used to the gist of it. 

It starts with Ava's grandmother and goes through her family's trials with love. The women in the family have had some bad luck with love and Ava traces back her and her mother's story to try and explain it. However, it's not as if they were cursed, they, especially grandmother, had some crappy luck with men. That is no reason to go all melodramatic and believe that everyone she loved turned to dust or whatever she was thinking; I mean, she gave up at 19! Anyway, apart from not understanding Emilienne at all sometimes, I liked hearing about her and how she grew up, how she married and lived. I also really liked  Viviane's love story, with best friend Jack and her lodger Gabe.

All this leads to Viviane giving birth to twins, out of wedlock in the 1940's. Ava and Henry were both weird in their own way; Henry never said anything unless it was important, he literally didn't speak a word until he was 5 or something. And Ava was born with wings. Not really sure why but as her grandmother is haunted by the ghosts of her siblings, let's just go with it. 

Ava's "fate" isn't revealed until the very last chapter. In fact, the Big Thing happens at the end and her "fate" is the last page! While I really did enjoy this, I can't stress that enough, I thought it was Ava's story. Instead, the main character and narrator didn't appear until over half way through. It was beautifully written, practically the definition of lyrical prose but I still don't understand the point of it. Yes, it's about the complications of love and desire and family but it had some odd little magical elements that were out of place and unexplained. A great story, brilliant writing, but the overall point was lost on me.

Published 2nd October 2014 by Walker Books.

1 comment:

  1. This book is clever and dynamic. I often wondered to myself (and to friends who were reading or about to read or who had already read the book because honestly it's a book you HAVE to talk about) why this book sold as YA. Because it would do equally well labelled as magic realism and shelved in adult literary. It speaks to teens, though. It speaks to people. And there were scenes that were so hard to read, but I turned the pages anyway. Because this book spoke to me.

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