Andrei Makine's second novel, a luminous elegy for the innocence and certainties of childhood and a stunning portrait of life in Soviet Russia during the Cold War.
Addressing himself to his childhood friend Arkadi from exile in Paris, Alyosha recreates their happy years in a village commune outside Leningrad in the 60s, when the sky was always blue and each summer they marched with drum and trumpet at communist youth camp, their eyes set on the glorious future promised by the propaganda machine - until they learn the full horror of what their parents had suffered during the war and under Stalin, and begin to see through the lies.
'Moving and gripping' The Times
A marvel - L'Echo
A superb novel - L'Express'
The many who loved LE TESTAMENT FRANCAIS will not be disappointed - L'Alsace
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, THE EARTH AND SKY OF JACQUES DORME, THE WOMAN WHO WAITED, HUMAN LOVE and THE LIFE OF AN UNKNOWN MAN.