Vaclav & Lena

Honoree, 5 Under 35 2012

Vaclav and Lena book cover
ISBN 9781400069316
The Dial Press
Haley Tanner photo © Gavin Snow
Haley Tanner

Haley Tanner received her MFA in creative writing from The New School, where her novel Vaclav & Lena began as a short story. More about this author >

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Set in New York’s Russian émigré community, Vaclav & Lena is a timeless love story from a stunningly gifted young novelist.

Vaclav and Lena, both the children of Russian émigrés, are at the same time from radically different worlds. While Vaclav’s burgeoning love of performing magic is indulged by hard-working parents pursuing the American dream, troubled orphan Lena is caught in a domestic situation no child should suffer through. Taken in as one of her own by Vaclav’s big-hearted mother, Lena might finally be able to blossom; in the naive young magician’s eyes, she is destined to be his “faithful assistant”…but after a horrific discovery, the two are ripped apart without even a goodbye. Years later, they meet again. But will their past once more conspire to keep them apart?


Interview with Téa Obreht and Haley Tanner's Vaclav & Lena read at the 2012 5 Under 35 Celebration