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A Life's Music

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781444716740

Price: £9.99

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In a snowbound railway station deep in the Soviet Union, a stranded passenger comes across an old man playing the piano in the dark, silent tears rolling down his cheeks. Once on the train to Moscow he begins to tell his story: a tale of loss, love and survival that movingly illustrates the strength of human resilience.


Makine here is as good as Stendhal - or Tolstoy ... [he is] storyteller, teacher, and enchanter most of all. I would rather read him than anyone else now writing, and then reread him. I think this is his best book so far.
Allan Massie, Literary Review
Beautifully paced and filled with a lyricism that weaves reality and fantasy into a far bigger picture ... engrossing
Geoffrey Strachan's strong and graceful translation of a novel written in French manages to let its Russian soul shine through. "A Life's Music" exchanges the lushness of Makine's earlier work ... for the fiercer pleasures of concise storytelling. This is Makine's art
Ann Harleman, New York Times
With matchless delicacy and economy ... Makine presents a movingly detailed history of survival, adaption and bitter disillusionment ... perfectly conceived and controlled. Its graceful narrative skilfully blends summarized action with powerfully evocative images charged with strong understated emotion ... masterly
Kirkus Reviews
[An] elegant, heart-rending little gem of a work ... entirely fresh and necessary. Highly recommended.
Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (New York)
A Life's Music again proves Makine to be a very fine craftman.
Times Play
Makine makes fresh images that are also profound and poignant, and this gives his portrait of a life derailed by history an irresistible authority.
Sam Thompson, Times Literary Supplement
A tale of war, heartbreak and survival. Both powerful and graceful, it has...depth and scope.
Scotland On Sunday
True to Makine's exquisite and haunting work, with its characteristic atmosphere born of pain and philosophy, this magnificent elegy of loss evokes the sheer size, mystery and chaos that is Russia.
Irish Times
The writing remains both poignant and subtle with the nuances of living a secret life given both colour and gravitas. A Life's Music makes for a fascinating - if all too brief - read.
Big Issue
This is truly a book to treasure.
Good Book Guide
No contemporary writer has expressed his simultaneous love of Russia and hatred of Communism as eloquently as Andrei Makine, and this exquisite, poignant novella is one of his most satisfying works
Sunday Telegraph
An unforgettable testament to the indestructibility of the human spirit.
Simon Shaw, Mail on Sunday
Avoiding a heavy-handed treatment of Russian history, in little more than 100 pages Makine succeeds not only in condensing the life and loves of one man, but in capturing the fear that pervaded everyday life in Stalin's Soviet Union. It is the perfect riposte to anyone who believes that great Russian literature must be unwieldy and crammed with a cast of thousands
Daily Mail