The Woman Who Waited
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|Format:||Paperback, 192 pages|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 22 February 2007|
When a young, rebellious writer from Leningrad arrives in a remote Russian village to study local customs, one woman stands out: Vera, who has been waiting thirty years for her lover to return from the Second World War. As fascinated as he is appalled by the fruitless fidelity of this still beautiful woman, he sets out to win her affections. But the better he thinks understands her the more she surprises him, and the more he gains uncomfortable insights into himself. Lyrically evoking the haunting beauty of the Archangel region, Makine tells a timeless story of the human heart and its capacity for enduring love, selfish passion and cowardly betrayal.
About the Author
Andrei Makine was born in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia in 1957, but sought asylum in France in 1987. While initially sleeping rough in Paris he was writing his first novel, A HERO'S DAUGHTER, which was eventually published in 1990 after Makine pretended it had been translated from the Russian, since no publisher believed he could have written it in French. With his third novel, ONCE UPON A RIVER LOVE, he was finally published as a 'French' writer, and with his fourth, LE TESTAMENT FRANCAIS, he became the first author to win both of France's top literary prizes, the Prix Goncourt and Prix Medicis. Since then Andrei Makine has written THE CRIME OF OLGA ARBYELINA, REQUIEM FOR THE EAST, A LIFE'S MUSIC, which won the Grand Prix RTL-Lire, and THE EARTH AND SKY OF JACQUES DORME.
A sensuously styled, elegiac tale set in the mid-1970s, Makine's latest opens a window onto a generation of post-WWII Russian widows through one mysterious woman's vigil. In the village of Mirnoe on the northern White Sea coast, a young male journalist researching local customs meets an intriguing woman who has waited 30 years for her fiance, reported killed, to return from the war. Just 16 when her lover was conscripted, Vera devotes herself selflessly to the care of the town's many war widows: she rows out to tend to the widows' graves on a nearby island and lives alone, ever watchful. The narrator, writing in retrospect but 26 at the time of the story, was educated in St. Petersburg; ironic and arrogant, he believes he has Vera's selflessness figured out as a prosaic, idealized vision of womanhood. And yet, he learns, Vera has studied advanced linguistics in St. Petersburg, and returned to Mirnoe by choice. The closer he gets to her, the more he is shamed in the face of her towering presence. Makine, now almost 50 and the author of eight other novels (including Dreams of My Russian Summers), lives in Paris; he transforms a very simple premise into a richly textured story of love and loss. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
'Ravishing' -- The Times 'Achingly beautiful' -- Guardian 'Bewitchingly mysterious!Makine's reputation rises with every book, and some have claimed that he deserves the Nobel Prize; on the strength of this teasing, emotionally dense novel, it's easy to see why' -- Sunday Telegraph 'Luminous, enthralling!The enormity of the Second World War, with more than 20 million Russian dead, is allied with one, inconsolable human tragedy. This is where Makine dazzles. He can make the universal deeply intimate.' -- Herald 'Beautiful...Makine gives us a work about love and its doppelganger, infatuation, which is by turns touching and profoundly sad' -- Spectator
This ninth novel from the Russian-born Makine (Dreams of My Russian Summers), now a resident of Paris, takes place in the mid-1970s in a rural town called Mirnoe near the White Sea. Our narrator, a 26-year-old folklorist from Leningrad who is documenting local songs and ceremonies, meets an intriguing older woman named Vera who has been waiting for 30 years for her lover, Boris, to return home from the battlefields of World War II. Boris was reported dead in the final days of the war, but Vera forsook her linguistics doctorate and a more cosmopolitan life to await his return in this isolated village, teaching and caring for the elderly in the meantime. Soon she begins a relationship with the folklorist, who has made several erroneous assumptions about Vera and her life that play out in this brief but stirring and intricate novel. The bleakness of the postwar countryside, the rise of the post-1968 Russian intelligentsia, and examples of love both false and true make this a haunting and satisfying tale. Recommended for larger fiction collections and for any contemporary European literature collection.-Jenn B. Stidham, Houston Community Coll.-Northeast, Houston Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
|Dimensions: ||1.0 x 12.0 x 19.0 centimeters (0.14 kg)|