Friday, 9 May 2014

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton (Walker Books)
HC RRP $19.95
ISBN 9781406348088
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

This extraordinary and mesmerising generational saga carries themes of love, loving, betrayal, and human weakness. We travel from France to Seattle with these sharp and escalating emotions that belong to the Roux family, throughout their search for happiness.  

On the night that Ava Lavender was born, all the birds in the neighbourhood acted strangely. Her being born with wings seemed to have been preordained in some way. It is Ava’s search for identity and a way to fit into a normal life that appears to be the major story. But it’s not only about Ava. It is about all the women of her family tree; all the loves they lost, and what they became because of these loves and losses. With them come all the myths and stories attached to these fractured lives, and the heartbreaking climax of how they finally came together again.

To try to encompass all that is in this book in a review is impossible. It’s hugely imaginative and deeply moving. Compiled of so many layers and sub-stories, any attempt to describe it hardly does it justice. It’s magical realism at its best. First time author Leslye Watson has created a masterpiece of beauty and fascination, and one of the finest pieces of writing, research and creativity that I have ever read.

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