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The Dream Life of Sukhanov by Olga Grushin
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The Dream Life of Sukhanov (original 2005; edition 2007)

by Olga Grushin

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5593133,824 (3.87)104
At the age of fifty-six, Anatoly Sukhanov has everything a man could want- a glittering career, a beautiful wife and two children, a grand apartment in the smartest part of Moscow. He thinks he has achieved his dream - to carve from the world around him a small, secure happiness, all his own . Then perestroika dawns and the rigid structures of the world in which Sukhanov has thrived begin to crumble. He is beset by heartbreaking visions from his past, when, many years ago, as a brilliant young artist in Moscow, and fearing the stifling hand of the state, he made a decision to abandon his dreams in favour of a life of comfort and, most of all, safety. Now, as the shadows of his past bring him to a terrifying state of uncertainty, he begins to realise that perhaps when he compromised his dreams to live a better life, he ended up hardly living at all. Brilliantly imagined, moving and with a driving plot, The Dream Life of Sukhanovis an utterly original tale of hope and fear and of youth and old age, by a remarkable new talent in contemporary fiction.… (more)
Member:d_ray
Title:The Dream Life of Sukhanov
Authors:Olga Grushin
Info:Penguin Books (2007), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Dream Life of Sukhanov by Olga Grushin (2005)

  1. 10
    Time Regained by Marcel Proust (DLSmithies)
    DLSmithies: Just because I found myself reminded, as Sukhanov's past envelops him, of that amazing moment in Proust when he trips over the paving slab and right there, standing outside the party, has his epiphany about time.
  2. 00
    Disunity by Anatoly Kudryavitsky (spiphany)
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» See also 104 mentions

English (29)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (31)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)

.....Much later after finishing this wonderful book.

I did talk a few people into reading this. The first, Margaret, who has read many, many books over the decades immediately declared that she could call it the best book she's ever read too. Phew. I was afraid I was not overselling it, but creating a situation where expectation could not equal experience.

The review is here, unchanged since I first put it on GR:

https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/the-dream-life-of-sukhano... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |

.....Much later after finishing this wonderful book.

I did talk a few people into reading this. The first, Margaret, who has read many, many books over the decades immediately declared that she could call it the best book she's ever read too. Phew. I was afraid I was not overselling it, but creating a situation where expectation could not equal experience.

The review is here, unchanged since I first put it on GR:

https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/the-dream-life-of-sukhano... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
This is one the best books I have ever read. The author writes incredibly well and has the sensibility of a nihilist 19th century writer so much so that I cannot believe Grushin is a young American writer. The story is about a middle aged man contending with a crisis of conscious because of decisions made as a result of his life during the politically tumultuous time of Russia from the 1930s to 1980s. What I found particularly engaging is that the author did not present or lean to what could be perceived as the right life choices, but that really everyone tries to do the right thing, to cope the best they can even though, ultimately, after the test of time, it is perceived that the wrong decision was made.
I cannot recommend this book enough and I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I did! ( )
  EvaJanczaruk | May 31, 2020 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (May 2011):
- ..2005 novel by Olga Grushin, Russian born American citizen..
- The story is centered on the life of Anatoly Sukhanov, who in 1985 is a Soviet apparatchik (i.e., entitled yes-man), editor of the art magazine "Art of the World". He is charged, in essence, with praising socialist realism while condemning/downplaying Western artists or anyone daring to actually, well, create. Dali is a favorite target, along with ex-pats like Chagall.
- As the Soviet bear edges toward glasnost, Sukhanov enters a kind of crisis of conscience, as he is reminded of his decision in the early 1960s to give up his underground life as a talented and spirited artist to join the cog of Soviet bureaucracy, with its guarantee of a relatively plush lifestyle. He becomes absent from his workplace, and his wife and children grow distant, partly due to his strange behavior.
- Tolya, as he is called, runs into an old artist pal, Lev Belkin, from his free spirited days of old, and realizes right away that Lev has kept painting all these years, managing to evade the censors while hoping for a more open society one day. As the story progresses, Tolya's daily movements are interspersed with more and more dreamlike passages, in which the omniscient viewpoint shifts to Sukhanov... All of these dreams harken back to his childhood or young adulthood... He recalls his early love for wife Nina, whom he had to wrest away from her highly orthodox father (these scenes I thought were very well done). He recognizes..how he squandered his artistic promise, putting away the brush and easel in a kind of pact with the devil.
- This is a very intelligent, imaginative work of fiction. As J. Yardley said in his Washington Post review, it is remarkable this was Ms Grushin's first novel.
- ...the dream sequences here remind me somewhat of Milan Kundera's style. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Nov 12, 2018 |
The story is very captivating and thought provoking. The reader has to pay attention and will be well rewarded for their effort! More impressive is the absolute beauty of Grushin's writing. I often stopped to reread a stunning phrase or paragraph! ( )
1 vote Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Olga Grushinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Clarke, MickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.

REVELATION 3:15-17
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To my parents
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"Stop here," said Anatoly Pavlovich Sukhanov from the backseat, addressing the pair of suede gloves on the steering wheel.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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At the age of fifty-six, Anatoly Sukhanov has everything a man could want- a glittering career, a beautiful wife and two children, a grand apartment in the smartest part of Moscow. He thinks he has achieved his dream - to carve from the world around him a small, secure happiness, all his own . Then perestroika dawns and the rigid structures of the world in which Sukhanov has thrived begin to crumble. He is beset by heartbreaking visions from his past, when, many years ago, as a brilliant young artist in Moscow, and fearing the stifling hand of the state, he made a decision to abandon his dreams in favour of a life of comfort and, most of all, safety. Now, as the shadows of his past bring him to a terrifying state of uncertainty, he begins to realise that perhaps when he compromised his dreams to live a better life, he ended up hardly living at all. Brilliantly imagined, moving and with a driving plot, The Dream Life of Sukhanovis an utterly original tale of hope and fear and of youth and old age, by a remarkable new talent in contemporary fiction.

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