Translated from the original French by Geoffrey Strachan
A grand narrative by Russian-born Makine, of Soviet Russian life and loves surviving under the intolerable burdens of state supervision, horrible intolerance, and conveniently mongered public lies. Whole spans of Soviet history finely refracted through the jotted-in life of dissident poet Dmitri Ress. A powerfully angry piece of modern historiography compressed in a fine series of memories and encounters. Magically miniaturist story-telling done in exquisitely pointilliste prose. Always touchingly insistent on how love and humanity and poetry get to survive in a terribly cold political climate.
About the Book
In Soviet Russia the desire for freedom is also a desire for the freedom to love. Lovers live as outlaws, traitors to the collective spirit, and love is more intense when it feels like an act of resistance.
Now entering middle age, an orphan recalls the fleeting moments that have never left him – a scorching day in a blossoming orchard with a woman who loves another; a furtive, desperate affair in a Black Sea resort; the bunch of snowdrops a crippled childhood friend gave him to give to his lover.
As the dreary Brezhnev era gives way to Perestroika and the fall of Communism, the orphan uncovers the truth behind the life of Dmitri Ress, whose tragic fate embodies the unbreakable bond between love and freedom.
About the Author
Andreï Makine was born in Siberia, but writes his novels in French. Le Testament Français was the winner of the Prix Goncourt and the Prix Medici, and the first novel to win both of these prestigious awards.
About the Translator
Geoffrey Strachan has translated all of Andreï Makine’s novels published in English to date. He was awarded the Scott-Moncrieff Prize for his translation of Le Testament Français.
Eight pictures full of charm and emotion. A sober and powerful style of history and love stories from the Soviet time to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Prose of big sensibility, quiet in suggestion. A novel which touches, is powerful and intelligent, transcribes the mysterious symphony of the loving moments of grace, far from the brutal clamors of our world. A sweet bitterness and a stabbing sadness.