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Joy Sorman & Catherine Lacey in Conversation ONLINE EVENT Albertine Bookstore/French Embassy

Andreï Makine

Andreï Makine is a Russian-born French author whose notable works include 1995's Dreams of My Russian Summers, the first book in French history to win both the Prix Goncourt and Prix Médicis in the same year, and his most recent novel, Brief Loves That Live Forever. In 2011, Makine confirmed a suspicion that he had published four books over the course of a decade under the pseudonym "Gabriel Osmonde."

Makine's writing often encompasses his Franco-Russian duality, the ghost of history, hope, and confusion, with much of his episodic content coming from his own experiences. In one such episode, detailed in Dreams of My Russian Summers, several French published balked at Makine's manuscript on the grounds that they did not believe a recent exile could write so well in a second language.

about Brief Loves That Live Forever

(Graywolf Press, Transl. by Geoffrey Strachan)

His novel-in-stories, Brief Loves That Live Forever, balances Makine's chilling depictions of Soviet brutality with weightless, dreamy idealism. A teenage orphan boy's chance encounter with a visiting girl ignites a juxtaposition between the totality of the state and the unexpected force of love

"Makine's prose is both spare and meditative, and leads us deep into the memories of a world that is now gone. He sees straight into the heart of the Soviet disaster while writing with great sophistication of the things that mattered there." - The Guardian

"(...)[T]he novel’s dreamy and impressionistic linked episodes, which take the narrator from his boyhood under Brezhnev to his adulthood, offer up this essential truth: Fleeting moments of beauty and love are to be treasured above all else. Carved out of even the most dreary and oppressive circumstances, they’re the sum of a life, a means of triumphing over brutality, a more powerful form of resistance than “dissident whisperings.” -New York Times

about A Woman Loved

(Graywold Press, Transl. by Geoffrey Strachan)

Catherine the Great’s life seems to have been made for the cinema—her rise to power, her reportedly countless love affairs and wild sexual escapades, the episodes of betrayal, revenge, and even murder—there’s no shortage of historical drama. But Oleg Erdmann, a young Russian filmmaker, seeks to discover and portray Catherine’s essential, emotional truth, her real life, beyond the rumors and facades. His first screenplay just barely makes it past the Soviet film board, and is assigned to a talented director, but the resulting film fails to avoid the usual clichés. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as he struggles to find a place for himself in the new order, Oleg agrees to work with an old friend on a TV series that becomes a quick success—as well as increasingly lurid, a far cry from his original vision. He continues to seek the real Catherine elsewhere . . . 

With A Woman Loved, Andreï Makine delivers a sweeping novel about the uses of art, the absurdity of history, and overriding power of human love, if only it can be uncovered and allowed to flourish.

If you would like to invite this author to speak at your university or bookstore, please fill out the application form and email it to Marine Baudoin at marine.baudoin@diplomatie.gouv.fr