Customer Reviews for

Dreams of My Russian Summers

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2002

    Makine has created a classic !!!

    A brilliant book which goes beyond other autobiographies. Makine has created a masterpiece that will stand among the great classics of our time. 'Dreams of my Russian Summers' has earned its place on my bookshelf of great novels. Among the many Russian authors that are now making name in 'Western' literature Makine has definitively taken the lead. The book tells many stories that are intimately linked; the pains of growing up not just for the main character but for Russia as a country. Sometimes funny, sometimes grim, but lively and gripping right to the end. I finished the book in one reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Artistic

    "Dreams of My Russ­ian Sum­mers" by Andreï Makine is a fic­tional, semi-autobiographical book. The book was orig­i­nally writ­ten in French and has won sev­eral awards.

    The book is told from a first per­son nar­ra­tive. The book opens when the nar­ra­tor, who is also the author, flips through old pho­tographs which belonged to his grand­mother. Soon the grand­mother walks in and starts to rem­i­nisce about the photos.

    The story con­tin­ues to explore the grandmother's life as well as the narrator's life and how her sto­ries influ­enced him.

    "Dreams of My Russ­ian Sum­mers" by Andreï Makine is a beau­ti­ful book, a lyri­cal and relat­able story of the author who was born in Rus­sia but spent his sum­mers with his grand­mother Char­lotte Lemon­nier. Charlotte's sto­ries took a life of their own and ulti­mately became an inte­gral part of the author as well.

    The book is as much the story of Char­lotte as it is of the author. Born in the early 1900s, she moved to Rus­sia with her father who prac­ticed med­i­cine. Over the years Char­lotte went back and forth only to be in France on the even of World War I. She soon returned to Rus­sia with the Red Cross dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion. Char­lotte stayed in Rus­sia and is beared wit­ness to the hor­rors of war, star­va­tion, famine, polit­i­cal mur­ders, indus­tri­al­iza­tion and finally the fall of the country's leaders.

    Andreï visit his grand­mother in a small Siber­ian town where she buried her Russ­ian hus­band. Even though she accepts her des­tiny in Rus­sia, she still holds a nos­tal­gic place in her heart for France.

    I can cer­tainly appre­ci­ate the beauty and crafts­man­ship of the author's tale. Every­thing that had to do with the grand­mother is pure gold, the images con­crete, and she lived an admirable, if dif­fi­cult life. But the other parts of the book lost me espe­cially the last sec­tion. I couldn't decide if the book crossed the line from "artis­tic" to "pompous", I'll go with "artis­tic" because I feel that was the intention.

    It's too bad I'm not able to read it in the orig­i­nal French, espe­cially since the author had to invent a French trans­la­tor because the book pub­lish­ers sim­ply didn't believe a Russ­ian author could have such mas­tery of their lan­guage.

    This book won both the Prix Goncourt and the Prix Medicis, first time for a book to win both at once. The trans­la­tion by Geof­frey Stra­chan is both attrac­tive and cap­tures (I hope) the style and col­ors of the story.

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  • Posted July 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Well written

    The way Makine has written this book is extremely lyrical; his analogies swim beyond the surface of subject and expression. A great biographical work intertwining Russian history. I enjoyed the dimensions of the first person narration, and his journey from boyhood to manhood. With the tug and pull of an ever-changing and maturing perspective on the panorama of his life, the narrator finds himself on a traveling road toward an untouchable place his heart had always been.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2007

    Memories

    This special book, as I read it, reminded me of the close relationship that my own son had with his great-grandma. Truely a great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2001

    Beautiful and moving

    This novel is truly special; I found the grandmother-grandson relationship brought back memories of my own childhood. Charlotte Lemonnier will be remembered for all time. This novel deserves inclusion on university 'must read' lists.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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