“Love is Never Past Tense” by Janna Yeshanova is a great love story at heart. Two people fall in love by the Black Sea during the times of the USSR and in the whirlwind of their attraction the two get married. But they are too young to appreciate what they have and divorce, only to experience the regret and continuous magnetic pull towards each other.
Circumstances and wider political developments push the two further on their individual path.
The book is beautifully written and told with a complex narrative that takes us back and forth in time. Such fragmented telling of a story does not always work for me but in this case it succeeded to show the disjointed nature of their relationship, the back and forth of their feelings for each other and the inevitable ending. A good choice.
The romance part of the book is heart breaking and took this often cynical reader by surprise. The portrayal of Communist and post-1991 Russia is brilliantly done and made the story so much more than ‘just’ a romance. For me this turned into an unexpected compelling reading experience. Making the outer circumstances and the changes in Russia have a personal impact on the characters brought the tragedy home to me.
For an interview with the wonderful Janna follow this link: