May 24, 1941: Alexeï Berg, a classical pianist, is set to perform his first solo concert in Moscow. But just before his début, his parents - his father a renowned playwright, and his mother a famed opera singer - are exposed for their political indiscretions and held under arrest. With World War II on the brink, and fearing that his own entrapment is not far behind, Alexeï flees to the countryside, assumes the identity of a Soviet soldier, and falls dangerously in love with a general officer's daughter. What follows is a two-decades-long journey through war and peace, love and betrayal, art and artifice - a rare ensemble in the making of the music of a life.
This wonderful novel is set in what is known as the Soviet period of stagnation - the 1970s, or late Brezhnev era. The university-educated narrator wistfully looks back on a few months in mid-decade when he left his cynical and jaded friends in Leningrad to travel to a small provincial town near the White Sea. Ostensibly writing about provincial folk customs, but also hoping to gather material for an anti-Soviet satire, he instead meets Vera, a woman much older than he who has waited 30 years for her lover to return from World War II.
"Numai rusii au aceasta dimensiune a spatiului infinit, a tinutului astuia întins acoperit de zapada, de zapezile astea care cad mereu, care astupa si bune, si rele, si vieti, si moarte, si sânge, si dragoste, si piane, si compozitii, si tot. Am citit cu mare placere, cu o profunda bucurie Muzica unei vieti. O muzica pe care am auzit-o si eu, pe care multi dintre noi au trait-o. Muzica unei vieti pe care înca nu am uitat-o, pe care înca ne-o amintim si care, într-un fel, înca ne mai determina destinul, existenta. Nuvela aceasta este absolut cutremuratoare si o recomand din tot sufletul tuturor celor care vor sa ia cunostinta de o opera deosebita." Victor Rebengiuc
Makine's most ambitious, complex, and uncompromising work is a three-generation epic set against the wide canvas of Russia's turbulent last eighty years, from Czarist times to the fall of Communism. We follow Nicholas, the protagonist's grandfather, from the brutal battle between the Reds and the Whites in the 1920s to the moment when Pavel, his grandson, is recruited by the KGB as a spy.
In World War II Ivan Demidov won the Red Army's highest award for bravery, that of Hero of the Soviet Union. But the decades following the War have brought him a life of hardship, alleviated only by his pride in this achievement and the modest privileges granted to War veterans. His daughter, Olya, on the other hand, born in 1961 and trained as a linguist, takes up a post as an interpreter at Moscow's International Business Center with access to a metropolitan lifestyle beyond the dreams of her parents.
Défendre cette femme... Effacer les clichés qui la défigurent. Briser le masque que le mépris a scellé sur son visage. Aimer cette femme dont tant d'hommes n'ont su que convoiter le corps et envier le pouvoir. C'est cette passion qui anime le cinéaste russe Oleg Erdmann, désireux de sonder le mystère de la Grande Catherine. L'effervescence du XVIIIe siècle européen se trouve confrontée à la violente vitalité de la Russie moderne.
Love for another person. Love for humanity as a whole. Are the two compatible or mutually exclusive? In Andrei Makine's most daring and ambitious novel since Dreams of My Russian Summers, in the midst of an insane African war somwehtere along the border between Angola and Zaire, two young people--Elias Almeida, a black revolutionary, and Anna, a Russian student--will struggle to stay together while forces beyond them work to tear them apart.