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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.
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Posted September 21, 2011
"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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.
Posted July 21, 2010
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 19, 2007
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 24, 2012
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