An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
***** 5 Extra Cranky Stars *****
We're huge Suanne Laqueur fans at Cranky. She's one of those names who's an automatic buy and recommendation. A name who deserves to be on all the best sellers' lists available.
With beautiful and lyrical prose, Laqueur weaves a story of connection, family, tragedy, and how trauma never really goes away. It changes the course of lives, lurks in the shadows like a specter and compounds, emerging when it's least expected.
An epic saga of family and friendship, Exaltation of Larks spans generations. Told in four parts and from multiple points of view, the story weaves around three main characters: Alex, Valerie, and Jav, who meet, connect, lose touch, and then reconnect with complicated results.
Backdropped against two historical and international events of September 11 (Pinochet's overthrow of the Chilean Government) and the attack on the Twin Towers, Laqueur shows the impact of the political on personal lives. While academics may focus on events leading up to and after, or the reasons why such events took place, Exaltation of Larks explores how people and families were effected at a deeply personal level.
Laqueur returns to some of her key thematics: the arts, questions of masculinity, toxic masculinity, love, friendship, betrayal, and family - how sometimes we have to graft new branches on established family trees. She also raises the question of what happens if the new grafts might not take or be healthy in the grove.
There is something deeply civilized and elegant about this book. It's made to be savored and not consumed. Although Laqueur raises some themes that are challenging, it's done in a gentle, thought-provoking way, which makes you think long after the last page has been read.
If you haven't picked up any of Laqueur's work, we recommend you do. We'll be waiting for the day Suanne Laqueur's name turns up on the NYT Best Selling List and we'll be able to say: Cranky picked it.
View all my reviews