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The Woman Who Waited: A Novel

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The Woman Who Waited: A Novel Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"[A] fine new novel....Makine's books are deceptively slim: He can pack more in a page than many authors can wedge into a chapter....His ninth novel is less ambitious, but he uses what could have been a clichéd romance to confound expectations....[E]ven if the men around her don't ultimately amount to much, in Vera, Makine has created a woman well worth waiting for." Yvonne Zipp, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A moving, utterly captivating love story: Romeo and Juliet as if told by Chekhov or Dostoevsky.

In a remote Russian village a woman waits, as she has waited for almost three decades, for the man she loves to return. Near the end of World War II, nineteen-year-old Boris Koptek left the village to join the Russian army, swearing to the sixteen-year-old love of his life, Vera, that as soon as he returned they would marry. Young Boris, who with his engineering battalion fought his way almost to Berlin, was reported killed in action crossing the Spree River. But Vera refuses to believe he is dead, and each day, all these years later, faithfully awaits his return.

Then one day the narrator arrives in the village, a twenty-six-year-old native of Leningrad, who is fascinated both by the still-beautiful woman and her exemplary story, and little by little he falls madly in love with her. But how can he compete with a ghost that will not die?

Beautifully, delicately, but always powerfully, Andreï Makine delineates in masterly prose the movements and madness that constitute the dance of pure love.

Review:

"A sensuously styled, elegiac tale set in the mid-1970s, Makine's latest opens a window onto a generation of post-WWII Russian widows through one mysterious woman's vigil. In the village of Mirnoe on the northern White Sea coast, a young male journalist researching local customs meets an intriguing woman who has waited 30 years for her fianc, reported killed, to return from the war. Just 16 when her lover was conscripted, Vera devotes herself selflessly to the care of the town's many war widows: she rows out to tend to the widows' graves on a nearby island and lives alone, ever watchful. The narrator, writing in retrospect but 26 at the time of the story, was educated in St. Petersburg; ironic and arrogant, he believes he has Vera's selflessness figured out as a prosaic, idealized vision of womanhood. And yet, he learns, Vera has studied advanced linguistics in St. Petersburg, and returned to Mirnoe by choice. The closer he gets to her, the more he is shamed in the face of her towering presence. Makine, now almost 50 and the author of eight other novels (including Dreams of My Russian Summers), lives in Paris; he transforms a very simple premise into a richly textured story of love and loss." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Short stories contrive to use a single incident to illuminate a whole life: They aim for a short, sharp shock. Novels, those famously loose and baggy monsters, frequently transcribe entire biographies, reveal cross sections of society or show us the interaction of several generations: They contain multitudes. In between lies that most beautiful of fiction's forms, the novella or nouvelle. Here, the... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"The Woman Who Waited quite deliberately avoids breaking your heart. It just comes very, very close....Only a fool would fail to understand that [Vera is] the kind of woman worth waiting for, and far kinder and wiser than any romantic fiction." Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World

Review:

"[A] wonderful novel....[A]n elegantly enigmatic tale that explores a number of themes that may seem a little outdated to some readers but which meld seamlessly with the novel's mise-en-scene..." Booklist

Review:

"The story grows steadily more complex and moving than its somewhat banal central contrast...had promised....Another fine work from one of Europe's most lavishly gifted writers." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"The bleakness of the postwar countryside, the rise of the post-1968 Russian intelligentsia, and examples of love both false and true make this a haunting and satisfying tale. Recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"[A]n entertaining story about love, the onset of maturity, the moral complications of cultural dissidence and Soviet life as it was lived in a northern corner of the empire....The Woman Who Waited is the opposite of academic or dryly philosophical." Andrey Slivka, The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Andreï Makine was born in Russia in 1958 and emigrated to France in 1987. In 1995 his novel Dreams of My Russian Summers won the Goncourt Prize and the Médicis Prize, France's two most prestigious literary awards. He divides his time between Paris and a village in southwestern France.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781559707749
Publisher:
Arcade Publishing
Subject:
General
Translator:
Strachan, Geoffrey
Author:
Makine, Andrei
Subject:
World war, 1939-1945
Subject:
Villages
Subject:
Dissenters
Subject:
Villages - Russia (Federation) -
Copyright:
Edition Description:
English
Publication Date:
January 2006
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
182
Dimensions:
8.40x5.94x.90 in. .75 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Woman Who Waited: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 182 pages Arcade Publishing - English 9781559707749 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A sensuously styled, elegiac tale set in the mid-1970s, Makine's latest opens a window onto a generation of post-WWII Russian widows through one mysterious woman's vigil. In the village of Mirnoe on the northern White Sea coast, a young male journalist researching local customs meets an intriguing woman who has waited 30 years for her fianc, reported killed, to return from the war. Just 16 when her lover was conscripted, Vera devotes herself selflessly to the care of the town's many war widows: she rows out to tend to the widows' graves on a nearby island and lives alone, ever watchful. The narrator, writing in retrospect but 26 at the time of the story, was educated in St. Petersburg; ironic and arrogant, he believes he has Vera's selflessness figured out as a prosaic, idealized vision of womanhood. And yet, he learns, Vera has studied advanced linguistics in St. Petersburg, and returned to Mirnoe by choice. The closer he gets to her, the more he is shamed in the face of her towering presence. Makine, now almost 50 and the author of eight other novels (including Dreams of My Russian Summers), lives in Paris; he transforms a very simple premise into a richly textured story of love and loss." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "[A] fine new novel....Makine's books are deceptively slim: He can pack more in a page than many authors can wedge into a chapter....His ninth novel is less ambitious, but he uses what could have been a clichéd romance to confound expectations....[E]ven if the men around her don't ultimately amount to much, in Vera, Makine has created a woman well worth waiting for." (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)
"Review" by , "The Woman Who Waited quite deliberately avoids breaking your heart. It just comes very, very close....Only a fool would fail to understand that [Vera is] the kind of woman worth waiting for, and far kinder and wiser than any romantic fiction."
"Review" by , "[A] wonderful novel....[A]n elegantly enigmatic tale that explores a number of themes that may seem a little outdated to some readers but which meld seamlessly with the novel's mise-en-scene..."
"Review" by , "The story grows steadily more complex and moving than its somewhat banal central contrast...had promised....Another fine work from one of Europe's most lavishly gifted writers."
"Review" by , "The bleakness of the postwar countryside, the rise of the post-1968 Russian intelligentsia, and examples of love both false and true make this a haunting and satisfying tale. Recommended."
"Review" by , "[A]n entertaining story about love, the onset of maturity, the moral complications of cultural dissidence and Soviet life as it was lived in a northern corner of the empire....The Woman Who Waited is the opposite of academic or dryly philosophical."
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