Book Review: An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur

Larks

WOWWWW…. !!!! What do I say about a book that swept me off my feet and also threw me down mercilessly multiple times. The author weaves a beautiful narrative around these people and her magical words are just so unforgettable.

Alex comes to America as a refugee after Pinochet’s coup in Chile but leaves behind his parents. He lives with his Uncle but also becomes a defacto member of the Lark family. Val Lark’s connection to him is instantaneous and though they grow up together after his Uncle’s death, and go separate ways for college, their thoughts are never far from each other. An innocent drunken mistake leads to Jav being kicked out and abandoned by his family, except when they want to beat him up or collect money. But he picks himself up and does whatever he can to survive, ultimately becoming one of the highest paid male escorts of New York city.

This is the story of their lives through more than three decades. Fate keeps throwing them in each other’s paths in very unexpected ways and it was fascinating to travel with them on their journeys. Every character in this story has experienced profound loss but they survive, they find love and friends and family, they never let go of hope. I fell in love with everyone – with all their flaws and anxieties and strengths – they all just felt so real to me. But Jav was my instant favorite and I can’t articulate properly why. He loses everything but still survives – over and over again. Anyone else would have broken irrevocably but his strength is remarkable. I cried so many times for him and I just wanted him to find someone he could be himself with.

The writing in this book is nothing less than enchanting. The author brings these characters, their happiness and pain to life using her words. The beauty of love, the power of found family, the horrifying effects that events like the coup in Chile and 9/11 have on the survivors for decades to come – the author captures all these emotions so effectively that we can’t help but feel all of it.

I can try but I will never be able to do justice to the awesomeness of this book through my review. Don’t read the reviews, don’t read the blurb, just go for this one. It’s a beautiful exploration of life and you will not regret reading it.

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