A Life's Music
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|Format:||Paperback, 112 pages|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 09 June 2003|
Alexei Berg's father is a well-known dramatist and his mother an opera singer, but in late 1930s Russia both parents suffer constant suspicion and harrassment under Stalin's reign of terror. So great is Alexei's musical talent that he is allowed to continue his studies, but two days before his first concert in May 1941, he arrives home to find his parents being arrested. He flees, abandoning his budding career as a concert pianist, and assumes the identity of a dead Russian conscript to fight against the advancing Germans. When the war is over he stays on as a general's driver, continuing to keep his real identity hidden until a moment of folly reveals the truth and earns him 10 years in a prison camp. But despite a life of misfortune, Alexei remains unbroken, and in a snowbound railway station in the middle of the Urals, he tells his story.
About the Author
Born in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia in 1957, Andrei Makine has lived in France since seeking asylum there in 1987. DAUGHTER OF A SOVIET HERO, his first novel, was originally published in French in 1990 and was followed by CONFESSIONS OF A LAPSED STANDARD BEARER and ONCE UPON THE RIVER LOVE. Then in 1995 his fourth novel, LE TESTAMENT FRANCAIS, became the unprecedented winner of both the Prix Goncourt and Prix Medicis and has gone on to sell over a million copies in France alone, and to be published in translation in twenty-nine countries. Its translation into English by Geoffrey Strachan, published by Sceptre in 1997, also won the Scott Moncrieff Prize. Since then Andrei Makine has published THE CRIME OF OLGA ARBYELINA, REQUIEM FOR THE EAST and A LIFE'S MUSIC, published in France in 2001 where it won the Grand Prix RTL-Lire.
'When I describe Andrei Makine as a great writer, this is no journalistic exaggeration but my wholly sincere estimate of a man of prodigious gifts. In his combination of clarity, concision, tenderness and elegiac lyricism, he is the heir to Ivan Bunin, the first Russian ever to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.' -- Francis King, Spectator 'Makine's novellas are short in length but beautifully paced and filled with a lyricism that weaves reality and fantasy into a far bigger picture. Little wonder, then, that he's frequently likened to other Russian greats such as Nabokov and Chekhov ... an engrossing story of love, tragedy, betrayal and loss. Moving the plot forward effortlessly, he creates a mythic portrait of Communist Russia.' -- Scotsman 'A Life's Music would make a terrific Tom Hanks movie. The tagline could be lifted straight from the book's jacket. A tale of war, heartbreak and survival. Both powerful and graceful, it has...depth and scope.' -- Scotland On Sunday 20021020 'Makine here is as good as Stendhal - or Tolstoy ... [he is] storyteller, teacher, and enchanter most of all. I would rather read him than anyone else now writing, and then reread him. I think this is his best book so far.' -- Allan Massie, Literary Review 'Beautifully paced and filled with a lyricism that weaves reality and fantasy into a far bigger picture ... engrossing' -- Scotsman 'Geoffrey Strachan's strong and graceful translation of a novel written in French manages to let its Russian soul shine through. "A Life's Music" exchanges the lushness of Makine's earlier work ... for the fiercer pleasures of concise storytelling. This is Makine's art' -- Ann Harleman, New York Times 'With matchless delicacy and economy ... Makine presents a movingly detailed history of survival, adaption and bitter disillusionment ... perfectly conceived and controlled. Its graceful narrative skilfully blends summarized action with powerfully evocative images charged with strong understated emotion ... masterly' -- Kirkus Reviews '[An] elegant, heart-rending little gem of a work ... entirely fresh and necessary. Highly recommended.' -- Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (New York) 'A Life's Music again proves Makine to be a very fine craftman.' -- Times Play 'Makine makes fresh images that are also profound and poignant, and this gives his portrait of a life derailed by history an irresistible authority.' -- Sam Thompson, Times Literary Supplement 'A tale of war, heartbreak and survival. Both powerful and graceful, it has...depth and scope.' -- Scotland On Sunday 20021020 'True to Makine's exquisite and haunting work, with its characteristic atmosphere born of pain and philosophy, this magnificent elegy of loss evokes the sheer size, mystery and chaos that is Russia.' -- Irish Times 20030607 'The writing remains both poignant and subtle with the nuances of living a secret life given both colour and gravitas. A Life's Music makes for a fascinating - if all too brief - read.' -- Big Issue 20030607 'This is truly a book to treasure.' -- Good Book Guide 20030607 'No contemporary writer has expressed his simultaneous love of Russia and hatred of Communism as eloquently as Andrei Makine, and this exquisite, poignant novella is one of his most satisfying works' -- Sunday Telegraph 20030607 'An unforgettable testament to the indestructibility of the human spirit.' -- Simon Shaw, Mail on Sunday 20030607 'Avoiding a heavy-handed treatment of Russian history, in little more than 100 pages Makine succeeds not only in condensing the life and loves of one man, but in capturing the fear that pervaded everyday life in Stalin's Soviet Union. It is the perfect riposte to anyone who believes that great Russian literature must be unwieldy and crammed with a cast of thousands' -- Daily Mail 20030607
|Dimensions: ||0.0 x 13.0 x 19.0 centimeters (0.09 kg)|