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Brief Loves That Live Forever: A Novel
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Published:
Graywolf Press 2015
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Description

A beautifully observed and moving account of love and the human spirit in the Soviet eraIn Soviet Russia the desire for freedom is also a desire for the freedom to love. Lovers live as outlaws, traitors to the collective spirit, and love is more intense when it feels like an act of resistance. Now entering middle age, an orphan recalls the fleeting moments that have never left him-a scorching day in a blossoming orchard with a woman who loves another; a furtive, desperate affair in a Black Sea resort; the bunch of snowdrops a crippled childhood friend gave him to give to his lover. As the dreary Brezhnev era gives way to perestroika and the fall of Communism, the orphan uncovers the truth behind the life of Dmitri Ress, whose tragic fate embodies the unbreakable bond between love and freedom.

"Makine has been compared to Stendhal, Tolstoy and Proust; our best historians of the Soviet era queue up to pronounce him one of the finest living writers on the period; and he is regularly tipped to be among the contenders for the next Nobel in literature." -The Daily Telegraph

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
08/04/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781555973438
ASIN:
B011I0WY22
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Andreï Makine. (2015). Brief Loves That Live Forever: A Novel. Graywolf Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Andreï Makine. 2015. Brief Loves That Live Forever: A Novel. Graywolf Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Andreï Makine, Brief Loves That Live Forever: A Novel. Graywolf Press, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Andreï Makine. Brief Loves That Live Forever: A Novel. Graywolf Press, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 17:23:10
Date Updated:
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shortDescription

A beautifully observed and moving account of love and the human spirit in the Soviet era

In Soviet Russia the desire for freedom is also a desire for the freedom to love. Lovers live as outlaws, traitors to the collective spirit, and love is more intense when it feels like an act of resistance. Now entering middle age, an orphan recalls the fleeting moments that have never left him-a scorching day in a blossoming orchard with a woman who loves another; a furtive, desperate affair in a Black Sea resort; the bunch of snowdrops a crippled childhood friend gave him to give to his lover. As the dreary Brezhnev era gives way to perestroika and the fall of Communism, the orphan uncovers the truth behind the life of Dmitri Ress, whose tragic fate embodies the unbreakable bond between love and freedom.

"Makine has been compared to Stendhal, Tolstoy and Proust; our best historians of the Soviet era queue up to pronounce him one of the finest living writers on...

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True
title
Brief Loves That Live Forever
fullDescription

A beautifully observed and moving account of love and the human spirit in the Soviet era

In Soviet Russia the desire for freedom is also a desire for the freedom to love. Lovers live as outlaws, traitors to the collective spirit, and love is more intense when it feels like an act of resistance. Now entering middle age, an orphan recalls the fleeting moments that have never left him-a scorching day in a blossoming orchard with a woman who loves another; a furtive, desperate affair in a Black Sea resort; the bunch of snowdrops a crippled childhood friend gave him to give to his lover. As the dreary Brezhnev era gives way to perestroika and the fall of Communism, the orphan uncovers the truth behind the life of Dmitri Ress, whose tragic fate embodies the unbreakable bond between love and freedom.

"Makine has been compared to Stendhal, Tolstoy and Proust; our best historians of the Soviet era queue up to pronounce him one of the finest living writers on the period; and he is regularly tipped to be among the contenders for the next Nobel in literature." -The Daily Telegraph

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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 29, 2015
        With writing that is as spare and evocative as poetry, Makine’s (A Woman Loved) story is a gemstone of a novel, polished and luminous. The narrator, now in middle age, recounts stories of coming of age as an orphan during the deprivations of the Brezhnev era in the Soviet Union. He is drawn into the past by the memory of a man named Ress who, broken down by many years behind bars for political agitation, classifies his countrymen into three categories: the herd, “a docile mass”; the cynics, wrapped in irony; and the rebels, who are “naïve enough to hope.” The narrator imagines another category of people, “those who have the wisdom to pause” and experience beauty. In his mind, these are the people who truly know how to live, and having only recently discovered this skill in himself, he searches his memories and finds those moments of tenderness and beauty that have stayed with him—a secret message contained in a letter from a friend, a summer love at a beach resort on the Black Sea, an afternoon spent in an orchard in bloom under “the whipped cream of petals” with a woman who loves another man. All these fleeting moments are made more poignant by the fact that the Soviet world that formed these memories is itself lost. Far from simple nostalgia, this book is a meditation on love and loss—Makine warns of the peril of an “obsession with what lasts,” but with such beautiful writing in a slim volume, readers will want to linger.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from June 1, 2015
        Translated from the French in which he writes (The Life of an Unknown Man, 2012, etc.), Siberian-born Makine's slim novel portrays the dangers of communism from the point of view of a romantic man. The narrator is a middle-aged orphan looking back on his life in Soviet Russia, and the chapters are brief and often self-contained; this episodic book is about accumulation, not plot, and the narrator's thoughts drift into memories of lost loves, the ravages of communism, and poetic dissidents-notably, a man named Dmitri Ress, who "never had the time to be in love" (this isn't a shy book...). The structure, eschewing any strict chronology, creates an odd effect in the reader: everything seems to happen all at once. Does this sound shapeless? Not at all. Instead, the book is loose in the way of memory, as one thought blurs into another, touching on minutiae one minute, history the next. In this way, Makine's book recalls work by Kundera and Sebald, those grand Europeans who wrote elliptical works combining the personal with the global. Here, he wants no less to write an old-fashioned novel of ideas, and he succeeds because he always finds something strong and concrete on which to pin his loftier notions. Consider one of the novel's more powerful passages: a man visits the orphanage to sing the praises of Lenin, whom he once met. The narrator is unconvinced, considering this visitor "a man too meticulous, too smooth, lacking the bitter stench of History." Instead, he seeks out an old woman who was apparently very close to Lenin, but he discovers her home an absolute wreck. What ultimately happened to her, as the narrator learns, expresses the great irony of communism: it aims to elevate the worker but instead dirties the cracks of everyday life, leaving a mess for everyone to clean up. Moving and thoughtful, this novel-despite its slight frame-has a lot to say.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from September 15, 2015

        Exemplified by the revelatory Dreams of My Russian Summers (1997), Makine's novels tell the story of the Soviet Union, but with a different shading each time. The recollections of a middle-aged man limpidly if impressionistically revealed, Brief Loves sums up the fleeting moments of real feeling he (and other Soviet citizens) saw fit to capture as "a revolt against a world in which hatred is the rule and love a strange anomaly." It's particularly poignant, even for Makine, and every scenario has bite. In A Woman Loved, young filmmaker Oleg Erdmann is taking a big risk with a new film about the life and heatedly extravagant loves of Catherine the Great. History is seen as a film set, "a gory animated cartoon," and life as "a grotesque vaudeville," so what's the difference? Even as he ponders our inescapable grand-scale playacting, Makine zeroes in on Oleg's split Russian-German identity--just another shading in the complex Soviet reality. VERDICT You don't have to love all things Russian to appreciate Makine's urgent storytelling.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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