An Exaltation of Larks is both all-consuming and surprising. After reading the description of this book, I was all in. A multi-generational story of an immigrant and his journey to the United States, along with a love story–this book had all the makings of something epic. Alejandro, a native of Chile, finds himself fleeing to the US parentless to live with his uncle. Befriending another family, Alejandro is eventually taken in by another family, the Larks where he then falls in love with one of their daughters. The build up to their relationship and the subsequent story building afterward is unlike any book that I have ever read before. Simultaneously, you are also introduced to another character, Javier, whose story unfolds throughout the book.
This book is long…550 pages of exquisite character development. I loved that this book was so long. Once you start reading it, you don’t want it to end. At the same time, with the multitude of characters that are introduced and developed, you will often find yourself asking how is this book going to end and how are these characters related. It’s not often that I find myself surprised of shocked by books, however, this one is right up there. Suanne Laqueur’s details and plot planning throughout this book is something to be admired. The details, many of which you may not pick up on (if you’re like me) won’t reveal themselves as important until much later in the book causing you to have many “aha” moments and appreciation for the author’s craftiness. Although many books have these details, it’s not often that authors are able to do without being hokey or cute.
Another thing that I loved about this book was that many of the relationships the characters have are very unconventional. It was refreshing to read something new that challenged the way I previously viewed relationships. This book, although very, very different, was reminiscent of All The Ugly and Wonderful Things—both in content as well as my love for the writing. I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone but I will leave you with this: behind All The Ugly and Wonderful Things, this was the second best book that I read this year. An Exaltation of Larks will make you want to find someone else who has read the book so that you can discuss it. Any takers?