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Music of a Life: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Andreď Makine
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

A brief but extraordinarily powerful novel by the author of Dreams of My Russian Summers and Requiem for a Lost Empire, Music of a Life is set in the period just before, and two decades after, World War II.

Alexeï Berg’s father is a well-known dramatist, his mother a famous opera singer. But during Stalin’s reign of terror in the 1930s they, like millions of other Russians, come under attack for their presumed lack of political purity. Harassed and proscribed, they have nonetheless, on the eve of Hitler’s war, not yet been arrested. And young Alexeï himself, a budding classical pianist, has been allowed to continue his musical studies. His first solo concert is scheduled for May 24, 1941. Two days before the concert, on his way home from his final rehearsal, he sees his parents being arrested, taken from their Moscow apartment. Knowing his own arrest will not be far behind, Alexeï flees to the country house of his fiancée, where again betrayal awaits him. He flees, one step ahead of the dreaded secret police until, taking on the identity of a dead soldier, he enlists in the Soviet army. Thus begins his seemingly endless journey, through war and peace, until he lands, two decades later, in a snowbound train station in the Urals, where he relates his harrowing saga to the novel’s narrator. An international bestseller, Music of a Life is, in the words of Le Monde, “extremely powerful . . . a gem.”

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Product Details

  • File Size: 221 KB
  • Print Length: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing; Reprint edition (October 28, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0061QUQ3S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,390 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Profund Work from Makine June 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Andrei Makine's Music of a Life is a slim book. It a simple story, told in a straightfoward, spare fashion. Yet within the framework of this simple story lies a profund piece of work that has an impact on the reader that, like the most beautiful music, lingers long after the last note fades into the night.

Makine, for those not familiar with his work, was born in the Soviet Union in 1958. He emigrated to France as a young man. He writes in French. (Music of a Life was nicely translated from the French by Geoffrey Strachan). At the risk of setting out what may sound like a hackneyed cliche, Makine's work for me combines the grace and elgance of the best French writers and the deep soul and conviction of the best Russian writers.

Music of a Life is set out as the re-telling of a conversation had between two strangers on a train moving slowly west from Siberia sometime around 1958, the year many thousands finally won their release from the labor camps that dotted the Soviet Far East. Two men sit together. One older man, wearing clothes that mark him as someone just released from the Gulag strikes up a comnversation with his fellow passenger. The story is set out in the voice of the other passenger. As the train moves on the older passenger and the narrator exchange slowly. At some point the older passenger, Alexe Berg, slowly sets out his life story.

In 1940, the young Alexe, a classically trained pianist of great talent and promise, was preparing for his debut recital. On approaching his family flat after the dress rehearsal he sees a pre-arranged symbol indiccating that his parents, supposedly dangerous members of the intelligentsia, had been swept up by the NKVD (pre-cursor to the KGB). Alexe makes his escape and finds himself hiding out in the Ukraine in 1941.
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