The Invention of Exile by Vanessa Manko
What’s it about?
This novel follows Austin Voronkov, an immigrant from Russia, from 1913 through 1948. Austin is unfairly exiled during the red scare of the 1920’s. When he is deported back to Russia he brings his American wife with him. We watch as they move back to Russia, on to France and then finally settle in Mexico with three children. They eventually separate in hopes that his wife can work from inside the United States to fix the anarchy charge and get Austin readmitted to the U.S.
What did it make me think about?
It made me think about how much our identity and views are shaped by the culture and country we are born into.
Should I read it?
This book did not do it for me. The first 100 pages were like a sketch with nothing filled in. The words were written beautifully but I just did not care about the characters. If the characters don’t draw you in, then you better have a good plot, and this book was really lacking on plot. The idea was interesting and the writing was good but the characters and plot fell short.
“So this is it, then. Two lives. They live two lives. The life in their minds, the life at hand. And in that shared place, the landscape of the imagination, they continue to love each other; they live.
This book just somehow missed the mark for me. What did you think?
best of spring/summer 2017
best of winter
best of summer 2014
last spring favorites
on my nightstand
edge of your seat
― Charles William Eliot
3 to 4- I found some aspect of this book redeeming but would not recommend it.
5 to 6- I really enjoyed something about this book (characters, plot, meaning etc.) but it was uneven. Some aspects were stronger than others.
7 to 8- It was a good book. I liked lots of aspects of this book. I would recommend it.
9 to 10- I was sorry to turn the last page. I highly recommend this book!