Synopses & Reviews
Andrei Makine's most ambitious and uncompromising work, Requiem for a Lost Empire is a three-generation epic unfolding across the expanse of eighty years of Russian history, from Czarist times to the fall of Communism. The author conveys the almost uninterrupted succession of violence and misery that has been visited on the Russian people since the 1917 October Revolution. Transporting readers around the globe from Russia to America to Africa and South America, Makine has produced a novel at once epic and intimate.
The narrative opens in the voice of a young Russian army doctor sent to work in Africa, the Near East, and South America. Recruited to spy for the KGB, he will become deeply involved in the Cold War revolutions and counterrevolutions erupting around the globe. In flashback, we meet Nikolai, the narrator's grandfather, a deserter of the brutal battle between the Reds and the Whites in the 1920s. Nikolai's son, Pavel, survives the horrors of World War II only to endure the tyranny of Stalin. Like his father, Pavel flees, searching for peace in the forests of Caucasus. It is here that our narrator, Pavel's son, is born -- as Makine's astonishing page-turner comes full circle.
Sweeping us into a Graham Greene-style thriller that opens up like a sinister Russian doll, Requiem for a Lost Empire rivals the depth and ingenuity of Nabokov and the sweep of Tolstoy.
Chicago Tribune Dr. Zhivago refracted through the language of Marcel Proust.
The New York Times Book Review [A]n epiphany of heartbreaking truth.
The Washington Post Book World Engrossing and enlightening....[A] vivid portrait of eighty years in Russian history.
San Francisco Chronicle Such is the power of this novel that it makes a believer of the reader.
Los Angeles Times Book Review The richly atmospheric framework story recalls Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient....and there is something admirably Tolstoyesque about its sweep.
A nameless, orphaned Russian army doctor is the narrator of Requiem for a Lost Empire,
an epic novel that traces three generations of a Russian family through the turbulent political struggles of the twentieth century.
Spanning eight decades --from the October Revolution of 1917 to the Cold War to the fall of Communism --the book follows the narrator's grand-father, Nikolai, a Red Army deserter who seeks peace and isolation in a remote forest village. Years later, his son Pavel will fight in World War II, become a KGB spy, and, like Nikolai, return to his native Caucasus in a vain attempt to escape the increasing tyrannies of the postwar Soviet era. It is here, amidst the raging warfare, espionage, and crushing poverty, where our narrator is born. Sweeping in its scope and heartbreaking in its truths, Requiem for a Lost Empire is both a harrowing history of the Soviet Union and a loving tribute to the fortitude of its people.
Makine's most ambitious and uncompromising work, "Requiem for a Lost Empire" is a three-generation epic unfolding across 80 years of Russian history, from Czarist times to the fall of Communism. Sweeping readers into a Graham Greene-style thriller that opens up like a sinister Russian doll, this novel rivals the depth and ingenuity of Nabokov and the sweep of Tolstoy.
About the Author
Andreï Makine was born in 1958 in the former Soviet Union. In 1987 he emigrated to France, where he still lives. He is the author of six novels including, most recently, Music of a Life and Dreams of My Russian Summers, which won France's prestigious Goncourt and Médicis prizes in 1995.