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In the last year I read two of Makine's books. I started with his novella The Music of a Life, (released as 'A Life's Music' in the UK) which I thought was very good, but was then extremely disappointed by The Earth and Sky of Jacques Dorme. I was wondering if you read both and how you thought that they compared.
By the way, Makine writes beautifully. I'm going to try A Life's Music next and then the most recently translated book, The Life of an Unknown Man.
Makine's has an essentially optimistic and empathetic point of view about Russia and about the potential of human relationships for good, which may make him seem quaintly old-fashioned.
I don't think Andrei Makine is well-known in Russia. I wonder how many of his books, if any, have been translated to Russisan. None of my work colleagues in Yekaterinbrug or Petersburg had heard of him.
I found it interesting to compare this approach with that taken by another French author Emmanuel Carrere in My Life as a Russian Novel where the author / protagonist, a French film-maker who travels to Kotelnich, a non-descript post-Soviet small town in economic and cultural decline, officially to make a documentary about the 'new Russia' for French TV viewers, but really as a voyage of personal discovery to uncover the fate of his disappeared Russian grandfather.
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