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It is impossible to exaggerate the power of this short, unbearably poignant novel. It is both brutal and lyrical. Makine consciously invokes Chekhov but his grasp of history is positively Tolstoy-like in scale. I can't think of a writer who would be a more deserving recipient of the Nobel literature prize. (Mail on Sunday)
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 Français (Le Figaro)
told with an intimacy made potent by Makine's lyrical, spare prose and Strachan's lucid translation... reconnects both the reader and the protagonist with Russia's blood soaked history, to startling effect (The Financial Times)
deeply poignant (David Charter, The Times Saturday Book club)
Pulls the reader's emotions tight... It is a beautiful story (Peter Lansley, The Times August 6 2011)
strikingly visual...there are numerous searing images: a ragged choir singing on the front line of a snow-covered battlefield as lives are snuffed out around them; the moment of clarity when Volsky realises that the siege has changed Mila beyond recognition; the brief glimpse of a red-headed boy running after the car bearing away the closest thing he has to parents. (Wendy Ide, Times)
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.See all Product Description
I have become a dedicated fan of Andrei Makine's work, which continues the tradition of the great masters of Russian fiction. Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2013 by Gervase T. M. Shorter
I enjoyed the main part of this book which was about the war, however I found the introductory and concluding sections unsatisfactory and did not feel that they added to the main... Read morePublished on 8 Oct. 2012 by Cookie
(4.5 stars) Ivan Shutov, a Russian author/critic in his fifties, now living in Paris, is brooding about his difficulty getting his work published, about the current lack of real... Read morePublished on 12 Jun. 2012 by Mary Whipple
Makine is a brilliant writer and I only wish I could read his novels in French. However, his clear and precise style reads easily in English. Read morePublished on 2 Oct. 2011 by Kiwifunlad
WARNING: Some readers may feel I have given away too much of the story.
Ivan Shutov was a Russian dissident writer of the early 1980s; he is now living in Paris, aged... Read more
A book which touches all human emotions in the most equisite language. Un-put-downable and heartbreaking but at the same time up-lifting.Published on 1 July 2011 by Marianne