The Crime of Olga Arbyelina
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|Format:||Paperback, 304 pages|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 20 January 2000|
Olga Arbyelina, a White Russian princess living quietly with her adolescent son in a small French town, is a relative newcomer to the Russian community there. Intriguingly little is known about her when, in the summer of 1947, she is suspected of murdering a fellow emigre, only for the case to be dropped. As the story of the preceding year unfolds, a picture forms of her upbringing in Russia followed by her exile and marriage in France, and the details of a darker, hidden crime begin to emerge, encircling the narrative in an ever-tightening snare.
About the Author
Andrei Makine was born in Siberia in 1957, and taught at the University of Novgorod. In 1987 he left the Soviet Union and sought asylum in Paris, where he lived rough before finding teaching work. His first novel was published in France in 1990, once he'd pretended he'd only translated it from another Russian's original. His third was published under his own name and Olga Arbelina's Crime is his fifth.
'Beautifully observed and lyrically exptressed, the novel slowly ... pieces together the mosaic of Olga's inner life as she begins to lose her mind. Returning obsessively to the tiny details of domestic life, the creak of a door, the gap in the curtains and the texture of the surface of a cup the effect is hauntingly claustophobic. But the greatest achievement is in the portrayal of Olga's son, a nameless youth with translucent skin and blood that will not clot, whose spectral presence is sensed, but never captured, in this tragic story of misplaced erotic love.' Natasha Fairweather, The Times, August 99 'Though his blend of memory and imagination has won him comparison with Proust, his broad sweep and mystical vision, his emotional intensity and lyrical elan...belong to the tradition of nineteenth-century Russian novelists.' Shusha Guppy, The Independent 24.7.99 'this is an intriguing novel about a Russian immigrant woman who lives in a small French town with her only son just after the second word war...the novel is neatly framed...Makine's meticulous, lyrical prose- served well by this sensitive translation- is all the more impressive because his first language is Russian (he writes in French)...he charges space with tension and the inanimate with meaning until the curtain rings are sinister, the position of a shoe is shocking and a lamp base causes a significant turning-point...Makine deserves our full attention, he exerts impressive control over these themes, hops back and forwards through time with ease, and ultimately neverforgets the value of a simple and compelling story.' Lucy Atkins, The Sunday Times 'The intricate thoughts and fears of a Russian emigre mother take center stage in this elaborately haunting work...Olga's involuted, tormented conciousness becomes a sophisticated pleasure in its own right...That same consciousness, and the events that destroy it, invoke larger mythic patterns- Cupid and Psyche, Beauty and the Beast. Makine's novel possesses the feverish beauty ofa hot-house culture in its final efflorescence.' Publishers Weekly, 26.7.99 'Beautifully observed and lyrically expressed, the novel slowly ... A tragic story of misplaced erotic love' -- The Times 'Though his blend of memory and imagination has won him comparison with Proust, his broad sweep and mystical vision, his emotional intensity and lyrical elan ... belong to the tradition of nineteenth-century Russian novelists' -- Independent 'Intriguing ... meticulous, lyrical prose ... he charges space with tension and the inanimate with meaning ... Makine deserves our full attention' -- The Sunday Times 'An elaborately haunting work ...Olga's involuted, tormented conciousness becomes a sophisticated pleasure in its own right ... Makine's novel possesses the feverish beauty of a hot-house culture in its final efflorescence' -- Publishers Weekly Structured like a crime novel, but told in the language of a poet... It's a thrilling book, lit with the soft light of despair, withpassages which should shock but whose style caresses, melting this scandalous story into a captivating melody. The readers of "Le Testament Francais" will rediscover in "Olga Arbelina's crime" Andrei Makine's beautiful and supple writing, his relish for the waking dream.' -- FIGARO LITTERAIRE
|Dimensions: ||19.0 x 12.0 x 1.0 centimeters (0.22 kg)|