Author(s): Andrei Makine
One night in St Petersburg, two men meet, both adrift in the brash new Russia: Shutov, a writer visiting after years of exile in Paris, and Volsky, an elderly survivor of the Siege of Leningrad and Stalin's purges. His life story - one of extreme suffering, courage and an extraordinary love - he considers unremarkable. To Shutov it is a revelation, the tale of an unsung hero that puts everything into perspective and suggests where true happiness lies.
An extraordinary story of love and endurance during the Siege of Leningrad lies at the heart of a magnificent novel about Russia past and present, and the human condition.
'Makine's laconic, sardonic portrait of the new Russia is laced with fury...a bold and eloquent novel' -- Helen Dunmore, Guardian 'Like all his work, this novel has a wonderful flavour of a contemporary Checkhov with a splash of Proust...What starts out an intimate account bursts out into something more ambitious and universal. Ultimately it's a haunting story, beautifully told' -- Viv Groskop, Observer 'Makine is a consummate literary artist, but he is teacher as well as storyteller and, best of all, enchanter' -- Allan Massie, Scotsman 'Thoughtful and humane' -- Kate Saunders, The Times 'Seamlessly translated by Geoffrey Strachan, Makine's novel explores the attempt of two 'ordinary' people to transcend suffering and find life's essential meaning. It is difficult to write without sentimentality about such a subject, but Makine's intelligence and truthfulness dismiss banality.' -- Pamela Norris, Literary Review 'A powerful, thoughtful book about the reliability of memory and how time mutates the meaning of both literature and history.' -- Tina Jackson, Metro 'His novels possess an eerie beauty invariably capable of surpassing the polemic...If he has an artistic kindred spirit it is most probably the South African Nobel laureate JM Coetzee' -- Eileen Battersby, Irish Times 'Thrilling...Makine's most beautiful novel since Le Testament Francais' -- Le Figaro
Andrei Makine was born in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia in 1957, but has lived in France since 1987. With his fourth novel, LE TESTAMENT FRANCAIS, he became the first author to win both of France's top literary prizes, the Prix Goncourt and Prix Medicis. It has gone on to sell over a million copies and be translated into 28 languages. Since then Andrei Makine has written five novels, including A LIFE'S MUSIC, which won the Grand Prix RTL-Lire.