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A Russian novel
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In this memoir, acclaimed French novelist Carrère turns his critical eye on himself, recounting a disappointing documentary-film endeavor and a deteriorating romance. The discovery of a Hungarian prisoner of war brings Carrère to the tiny post-Soviet town of Kotelnich, but the dead-end story crushes his hopes for an interesting film project. Though rural Kotelnich is hopelessly dull, Carrère decides to stay. He'll cover the town's poor, hard-working residents, including a bodybuilder who helps reform wayward young men and a local girl aspiring to be the next Britney Spears. More important, he'll look into the mysterious disappearance of his Russian grandfather. Hand-in-hand in this torturous Russian saga is Carrère's romantic crisis with fiancée Sophie, a young woman in love with the author but so cowed by his moods and self-absorption that she took another lover and lied outrageously about it, compounding Carrère's emotional paranoia.
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