Author(s): Andrei Makine
On the edge of the Siberian steppes, a young boy grows up listening to his French grandmother's stories of France just before the Great War - a nostalgic portrait of a vanished world, but a bewitching one during the Soviet regime. Gradually the story emerges of his grandmother's subsequent life in Russia, through the horrors of the revolution and World War II. Torn between two cultures, he eventually leaves after the fall of the Berlin Wall for Paris, and discovers how far his imagination led him from reality. But he stays, until a letter arrives containing an astonishing revelation.
The first novel to win both the Prix Goncourt and Prix Medicis
Andrei Makine was born in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia in 1957, but sought asylum in France in 1987. While initially sleeping rough in Paris he was writing his first novel, A HERO'S DAUGHTER, which was eventually published in 1990 after Makine pretended it had been translated from the Russian, since no publisher believed he could have written it in French. With his third novel, ONCE UPON A RIVER LOVE, he was finally published as a 'French' writer, and with his fourth, LE TESTAMENT FRANCAIS, he became the first author to win both of France's top literary prizes, the Prix Goncourt and Prix Medicis. Since then Andrei Makine has written THE CRIME OF OLGA ARBYELINA, REQUIEM FOR THE EAST, A LIFE'S MUSIC, which won the Grand Prix RTL-Lire, and THE EARTH AND SKY OF JACQUES DORME.