Sunday, 27 November 2016

Review: An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur

*****5 Stars*****

Suanne Laqueur is an author that for me just doesn't get enough credit. Her books take you on a complete journey, with characters that are so perfectly flawed, you just can't help but be totally absorbed into the world this author has created.
At first glance, I thought this book was huge, being made up of 550 pages. However it was clear from the first few pages that I didn't want this book to end.
The book spans several decades from 1973 - 2007 and touches on two particular poignant events, the first being Pinochet's atrocities in Chile and the second being the 9/11 terror attack. Both subjects were handled, I thought, beautifully if that is even the right word, but having such incredible characters and seeing these events through their eyes made this an intense, emotional read.
This book is told in several characters points of view, but the main ones being Alex, Val and Jav. These three characters, through several coincidences end up coming together throughout the years and their relationship (in a non sexual sense) was incredibly touching. I have to say though that I did find Alex to be my favourite. His life experiences really got to me, but by the same token, Jav's life definitely wasn't plain sailing.
I could write about this book forever, but one thing that Suanne seems to be so good at, is writing a sex scene, that I can only describe as insanely classy. You know that characters are having sex, you can picture it vividly in your mind, but there's no gratuitous explanations and that makes it such a refreshing read.
Finally I want to end my review by pointing out a particular point in the book where Val was describing a book Jav had written; "Was this good?" she asked. 
"Insanely good," Val said "Jav writes so seamlessly , you forget you're reading." This dialogue absolutely sums up this book for me, but if I had any criticism it would be that I do think there's more to the story for some of the characters and I really really hope Suanne brings us more in the future.

Reviewed by Louise Dale

September 11, 1973: Eleven-year-old Alejandro Penda watches from his apartment window as Santiago, Chile falls to a military coup, destroying his family and his childhood. Arriving alone in America, he’s taken in by the Larks: a prominent family in the town of Guelisten. Though burdened by unresolved grief for his disappeared parents, he becomes fiercely loyal to the Larks, eventually marrying one of their daughters, Valerie.

September 11, 2001: Javier Landes watches from his apartment window as New York City falls to terrorism. As one of Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts, this professional lover has never lacked for company and is loyal only to himself. But in the wake of 9/11, Jav is named guardian for an orphaned nephew in Guelisten and must open his carefully-guarded heart to pain he's long suppressed.

Alex, Valerie and Jav meet first in their twenties, with a sudden attraction each finds strange and compelling. When they meet again in their forties, they discover not only is their bond still strong, but their life experiences are strangely similar. All have been shaped by separate 9/11's, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.

"Life has rules. You cannot come in the middle of the night and take what we agreed isn't yours."

Across three decades and two continents, Suanne Laqueur's fifth novel explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love's downfall can turn to exaltation.

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