The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Fantasy
Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.
Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.
In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.
That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.
First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.
I think the blurb did a really good job on explaining what this book is about, especially this line:
unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.
This is a book about love. All kinds of love – lost love, waiting on love, mourning for love, changing for love, the wrong type of love. Everything. It was so beautifully written, every page felt like a dance because the way the words move in your mind is something I’ve not experienced in quite some time. The sentences in this book are ones that makes you tab the page, put down the book for a while and just appreciate how amazing the writing is.
Fate. As a child, that word was often my only companion. It whispered to me from dark corners during lonely nights. It was the song of the birds in spring and the call of the wind through bare branches on a cold winter afternoon. Fate. Both my anguish and my solace. My escort and my cage.
In this magical realism story, we follow a rather strange family, most of them are strange because of their abilities such as one who could turn into a bird. We learn about who they were as a kid, who they are as an adult, how love shaped them, how they coped with the difficulties that faced them.
I found it ironic that I should be blessed with wings and yet feel so constrained, so trapped. It was because of my condition, I believe, that I noticed life’s ironies a bit more often than the average person. I collected them: how love arrived when you least expected it, how someone who said he didn’t want to hurt you eventually would.
I absolutely love the fact that Leslye used all these extraordinary characters to dive deeper into the meaning of love.
The focus of this book is its characters, I thought that for a book that is quite small, there would be lesser characters so the author can develop them better. Instead, we got to read about the whole family tree of the Roux Lavender family tree and even other characters in the neighborhood. The thing is, one would expect the author to touch and go these characters but I was very wrong. Each one of these characters, even the magical ones, have such depth in them that I could actually believe that a girl with wings lived on this world before. Each character had a distinct personality and each one of them made you think. And to me, that’s what makes an incredible book, its ability to make you think about subjects that you’ve never thought of.
After finishing this book, I felt as though I had a deeper understanding of love and all its complexities. I love the way this book made me look at everyone knowing that there is a deeper story behind them, that the meaning of love is different to each person. I ended up feeling for each of the different characters, my heart aching for those who was hurt by someone they loved. It made me realize how complex and powerful a single feeling is.
It not only captured my heart, it buried itself in there and made it home. From the first word to the last, I was engulfed, sipping the words like a hot and sweet drink, slowly taking in the way the story unfurled and the meaning behind them. If you’re looking for a story that will tug on your heartstrings, this is the one for you.
Book Depository (pst! It’s 25% off on the paperback right now! 14th April 2017)