Few romantic stories are as complex as those written by a futurist; and Bruce Sterling proves this case to the elegant extreme.

Love is Strange is just what the title suggests; an exploration of romance that is destined to take the protagonists places far beyond the norm. But then the main characters themselves cannot claim to be mainstream, so their journey seems custom tailored the their eccentric dispositions.

Gavin, a young Seattle project evaluator working in a venture capital firm, is a guest speaker at a futurist conference in Capri. Using the conference as a cover for his company’s somewhat shady business deal with a Brazilian cultural minister he enlists the help of his nomadic translator, Farfalla, to help him get in contact with her past client.

Deeply rooted in her mystic upbringing, Farfalla immediately develops an attraction to Gavin; believing him to be “The One” spoken of by her occult mentor. She also rapidly takes on a semi-maternal role with Gavin’s sister; a young Goth musician who is as certain of her eventual fame as Farfalla is of her supernatural connection to Gavin.

The story soon delves deep into the complexities of love, especially when two completely separate narratives seem to be running side by side. Gavin’s journey is taking him towards either the salvation or destruction of his old-money family. Farfalla’s own road to happiness is also strewn with complications revolving around her communist parents and oblivious circuit designer boyfriend.

Love is not only strange but horrifically difficult in Sterling’s tale; and certainty is as much of a hindrance as ambiguity. It is often hard to consistently empathise with both Gavin and Farfalla at the same time, as their opinions clash repeatedly making this story an emotional tug-of-war with no clear line in the dirt.

During the novel Sterling maintains his consistently expressive style that is inherent in many of the greatest futurist writers. There is the constant reverence for what has come with the hope of what is to come, and on the edge there is always a hint of possible destruction. These things are what makes a great tale, and Love is Strange is no exception simply because it is a romance story above all.

Solid writing, evocative scenes and twisted underlying narratives all come together to create something that is neither one thing nor another, but a mixture of many different subjects that prove that love is very strange indeed.

Publisher: 40k Books (December 22, 2012)

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Language: English

ASIN: B00ASBPAWY

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