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Brief Loves that Live Forever

by Andreï Makine

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896228,308 (3.98)7
Did sex bring down the Iron Curtain? An orphan reflects on the unbreakable bond between love and freedom in the Soviet Union.

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» See also 7 mentions

French (3)  English (3)  All languages (6)
Showing 3 of 3
"The fatal mistake we make is looking for a paradise that endures.... The obsession with what lasts causes us to overlook many a fleeting paradise. "

This book reads like a poem! As always, I am overwhelmed by Makine's writing, and this time is no different; still, it's one of his best works, I would say. This book of 8 mini novellas (connected in theme) is a nostalgic, bitter/sweet lyrical gem and is one more example of Makine's undeniable talent. Here he is a romantic and a realist at the same time. His unique eloquence (even in translation!) feels so compelling that one is immediately thrown into the milieu of the place/time/moment; a gesture that says it "all", a facial expression or just "when the leaves on the trees all converse in their own languages" is described to such spellbinding perfection that one simply stops and marvels. His "grandstand" description and his protagonist being trapped under one as a child is a potent metaphor in one of the stories here, one of the glimpses into the past of his hero (in many ways, it seems, autobiographical, because of the way he presents these incidents, so true to life). Plus, to me, it's all highly relatable and acutely understandable - his hero being of my generation, era, and place.

A writer, born Russian, writing in French in such a way that even the French are highly impressed - it's quite a literary achievement. The fact that Makine was elected to Academie francaise (that only has 40 members and is a "council for matters pertaining to the French language") says it all. I wish someday ALL his books are translated in English (or into Russian...), can't wait.... He has also written under a pseudonym "Gabriel Osmonde", but those works are only in French, as far as I can tell.

A highly recommended read. ( )
1 vote Clara53 | Aug 14, 2019 |
This is an interesting hybrid of memoir, novel and short story collection. Each chapter or story picks out a moment of beauty as a sort of epiphany standing out among the greyness of a youth spent in Soviet Russia. Makine's writing is stylish and moving. For me this one didn't quite have the impact of his previous book The Life of an Unknown Man, but it was still well worth reading. ( )
  bodachliath | May 4, 2016 |
Classic Makine. Several short accounts, in a chronological sequence from childhood in an ophanage to adulthood (and sometimes referring back to each other), of episodes in the narrator's life involving an awareness of feelings which were often fleeting and ill-understood at the time but which end up lasting a lifetime. ( )
1 vote martin1400 | Nov 23, 2013 |
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To the memory of Dick Seaver
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From my youth onwards the memory of that chance encounter returns, at once insistent and elusive, like a riddle one never gives up hoping of solving.
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Did sex bring down the Iron Curtain? An orphan reflects on the unbreakable bond between love and freedom in the Soviet Union.

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