A remarkable novel ... enormously powerful
An astonishingly mature and accomplished work ... What sets it apart is a wonderful and extraordinary ability to give us the very texture of life in a few spare sentences
[It] carries the unmistakable stamp of historical and human truth ... subtle and powerful
It is only 163 pages ... but this is also nothing less than the history of Russia from the German invasion in 1941 to Gorbachev and glasnost ... Even in this starkly grim story Makine strains hard to believe that life, however ghastly, brings moments of tranquillity and peace.
Makine's voice is authentic, his writing deft. He knows what he is writing about and does so with conviction ... shows the qualities that later won him both the Prix Goncourt and the Prix Medicis.
[A] beautifully realised tale ... palpable and deeply moving
Anyone struggling to understand the moral labyrinth that contemporary Russia has become would do well to read this book.