The acclaimed author of Dreams of My Russian Summers and Requiem for a Lost Empire delivers the final novel in his epic literary trilogy.
In present-day France, a Russian writer recalls his harsh childhood at a Stalingrad orphanage in the 1960s and the old Frenchwoman, a family friend, whose tales fed his dreams of a better world. One story in particular has stayed with him: that of her brief, passionate affair, during World War II, with the French fighter pilot Jacques Dorme, who subsequently died in a plane crash in the Siberian mountains. So the narrator decides to retrace Jacques Dorme’s steps, beginning a journey that leads him not only to revisit the land of his birth, but also to see his adopted homeland in an unflattering new light. A profound and moving novel about the dangers of ideology and of war, delivered with humor, sensuousness, and great lyricism.
“This isn’t a book that will remind you of any other book. Its charm lies precisely in its originality, in Makine’s unexpected metaphors, and in his unusual prose, which . . . beautifully illuminates his deep, intuitive knowledge of two very different, very ancient, very damaged cultures.” —The Washington Post