The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton is a generational saga that tells of love, loss and beauty. This story is not only about the sorrows of Ava Lavender, but it also tells the sorrows of Ava’s twin Henry, her mother, her grandmother and her great-grandmother. Ava Lavender is just a girl, but she is also just a girl with wings.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is beautiful but dark, lyrical but brutal, and at times comforting, at times haunting. The prose is emotive and fantastical, and the prose flows beautifully while challenging and pushing the boundaries of our imagination. Walton’s writing and her integration of magical realism into the narrative brings out the beauty of the mundane, and sets your mind alight with vivid, spectacular imagery.
This book isn’t only about Ava Lavender and her family, it also tells the stories of the people in the little town. At times it may seem like their narratives and their histories may be detached from each other, but as the novel progresses, their stories converge together to create a deep, meaningful conclusion. Without this context, the ending would have meant much less and would have made less of an emotional impact. It is because that we understand the layers and the intricacies of people’s lives that make it meaningful to the readers. We may not relate to these characters and their stories, but we cannot help but empathize. And because we empathize with them, it makes the story all the more tragic and sad.
At times, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is dramatic and saccharine, but the exaggerations make it lyrical. The writing of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender borders on a tall-tale, but underneath that exterior, it is surprisingly poignant and profound. At times the prose nestled around me like a warm, comforting blanket, and at times it devastated me and horrified me. Underneath it all however, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is an exploration of the many faces and masks of the human condition, the strangeness of love and loss, and the richness of life, come good or bad.
I have so many feeling about this book, and the issue is that I do not have enough words or the vocabulary to describe it. It is truly unlike any other book that I have read. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender blew me away – and it’s not often that such books do that to me – and I loved this book so much. It is truly unforgettable. Ava Lavender and her family will always occupy a small piece of my heart.
Also, I just bought the hardback.
Book Name: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Author: Leslye Walton
Publisher: Candlewick Press