‘And that might just be the root of the problem: we’re all afraid of each other, wings or no wings.’- The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton was my first ever magical realism book and I am thrilled to have finally dived into this wonderful genre. I’d had it on my shelf for a long time, but hadn’t picked it up despite the glorious amount of praise given to it, because it seemed like it might be a very slow read. It was told in quite a lyrical prose and in the sort of way which sounds beautiful but can have a lot of description and takes a while to get through. However, this book did not fall into those pitfalls. It was lyrical and beautiful, indeed, with a compelling story and interesting characters, but it also managed to perfectly blend the intrigues of the past with the interest in the present and managed to make the telling of the story over many generations interesting at all points and a viable choice for story-telling.
I found the stories of Ava Lavender and her ancestors incredibly interesting and almost realistic in their fantasy, which, I suppose, is what magical realism is supposed to be. I found myself constantly questioning whether everything magical was actually happening or whether it was a metaphor for something else, which I loved. The characters were interesting and the story was compelling; I absolutely flew through the book and the details still swim around my head even a few weeks later. This is definitely an amazing book that I would recommend to anyone and I owe it a massive amount for pushing me onto the magical realism bandwagon at last.
One thing, however, that I did feel, was that as soon as we got into Ava Lavender’s story, the tone seemed much more contemporary than magical: this isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, but it is something I noticed and thought I would point out. Nevertheless, this was an excellent book told poignantly with eloquent prose and I can’t wait to read more! I gave this book 5 stars.
And I’m back! I was away most of July for my course as I’ve already said and then I was moving house and didn’t have any time whatsoever, but now I’m back to writing! Happy reading, Keira x.