Virtuoso
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Virtuoso

3.6 (326 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Longlisted for the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize 2020

'A hint of Lynch, a touch of Ferrante, the cruel absurdity of Antonin Artaud, the fierce candour of Anais Nin, the stylish languor of a Lana del Rey song ... Moskovich writes sentences that lilt and slink, her plots developing as a slow seduction and then clouding like a smoke-filled room.' Guardian

Zorka. She had eyebrows like her name.

1980s Prague. For Jana, childhood means ration queues and the smell of boiled potatoes on the grey winter air. But just before Jana's seventh birthday, a new family moves in to their building: a bird-eyed mamka in a fox-fur coat, a stubble-faced papka - and a raven-haired girl named Zorka.

As the first cracks begin to appear in the communist regime, Zorka teaches Jana to look beyond their building, beyond Prague, beyond Czechoslovakia ... and then, Zorka just disappears. Jana, now an interpreter in Paris for a Czech medical supply company, hasn't seen her in a decade.

As Jana and Zorka's stories slowly circle across the surreal fluctuations of the past and present, the streets of 1980s Prague, the suburbs of 1990s Wisconsin and the lesbian bars of present-day Paris, they lead inexorably to a mysterious door on the Rue de Prague ...

Written with the dramatic tension of Euripidean tragedy and the dreamlike quality of a David Lynch film, Virtuoso is an audacious, mesmerising novel of love in the post-communist diaspora.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 26mm | 395g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 9781788160254
  • 928,802

Review Text

'A bold feminist novel: it contains a world of love and friendship between women in which men and boys are both indistinct and irrelevant ... The Natashas was a fascinating debut, Virtuoso is even better ... It is the Blue Velvet to her Eraserhead: a fully realized vision of a strange world.' Katharine Coldiron TLS
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Review quote

'A bold feminist novel: it contains a world of love and friendship between women in which men and boys are both indistinct and irrelevant ... The Natashas was a fascinating debut, Virtuoso is even better ... It is the Blue Velvet to her Eraserhead: a fully realized vision of a strange world.' -- Katharine Coldiron * TLS * 'Like Moskovich's powerful debut The Natashas, this is a book about the last generation to be born in the Soviet era and how the fall of communism shaped their social, sexual and artistic engagement with the world ... Moskovich's mother tongue is Ukrainian, and while her English is faultless, there's a pleasing otherness about her syntax and word choice, a sense that there are different languages operating just beneath the surface of the text. It makes for a reading experience that is always strikingly original ... Virtuoso is a fine, fraught, strange novel ... it will be fascinating to see what she writes next.' -- Alex Preston * Guardian * Praise for The Natashas:
'A brave, original work ... written in a Cubist jumble of voices, languages, and textures, The Natashas reads as if one were spinning a radio dial of the world -- Lauren Elkin * Financial Times * A surreal and distinctively written exploration of identity ... wonderfully original -- Kirsty Logan * Guardian * A hallucinatory torrent of imagery and ideas that moves entirely according to its own rules -- Alastair Mabbott * Herald * Closest in tone and plot to a David Lynch film ... as heady yet ephemeral as smoke -- Lucy Scholes * Independent * [A] unique read * The List *
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About Yelena Moskovich

Yelena Moskovich was born in the former USSR and emigrated to Wisconsin with her family as Jewish refugees in 1991. She studied theatre at Emerson College, Boston, and in France at the Lecoq School of Physical Theatre and Universite Paris 8. Her plays and performances have been produced in the US, Canada, France, and Sweden. Her first novel The Natashas was published by Serpent's Tail in 2016. She has also written for New Statesman, Paris Review and 3:AM Magazine, and in French for Mixt(e) Magazine, won the 2017 Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize in 2017 and was a curator for the 2018 Los Angeles Queer Biennial. She lives in Paris.
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Rating details

326 ratings
3.6 out of 5 stars
5 16% (52)
4 44% (142)
3 29% (96)
2 7% (23)
1 4% (13)
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