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Brief Loves That Live Forever (2013)

by Andreï Makine(Favorite Author)
3.84 of 5 Votes: 2
0857051768 (ISBN13: 9780857051769)
Maclehose Press
review 1: A beautiful tribute to love and happiness- not as found in long relationships, and certainly not as found via political ideologies - neither communism nor capitalism. But rather the joy of fleeting moments and brief encounters, and the joy of simply living in the moment, enjoying nature and companionship. Looking back on his life, the narrator opines that:"The fatal mistake we make is looking for a paradise that endures....The obsession with what lasts causes us to overlook many a fleeting paradise, the only kind we can aspire to in the course of our lightening journey through this vale of tears. These often makes their dazzling appearance in places so humble and ephemeral that we refuse to linger there". The book is told as the narrator recalling such moments and the ... moretheme is perhaps best expressed by an episode in the middle of the book. As a teenager, a female friend challenges the narrators view of happiness being the creation of an ideal fraternal society:"A doctrine? What for? We're happy here, admit it. We're happy because the air smells of snow and spring. Because the sun's been warming the planks, because...Yes, because we're together"Indeed the narrator suggests that this form of "serenity indifferent to the ugliness and coarseness of the world" is a more effective form of resistance to the regime than the usual dissident and intellectual circles. Andrei Makine writes some of the most lyrical prose in modern European literature, and this is a fine addition to an impressively accumulating body of work.
review 2: New from Makine! Ah! In case it has not become clear yet, Andreï Makine is one of my favourite authors, in fact the only living and publishing one so it's a special moment for me to get my hands on the latest book of a writer that I really like.This book differs from Makine's other books in the sense that it consists of short stories, one could say "flashes" or "memories", from the life of the protagonist. It does not advance in a chronological order, neither does it give a lot into the protagonist. He's just more of a "someone". Who he is or what he does exactly is not at all so important because what the book intends to deliver, consists largely of universally comprehensible emotions and situations that don't rely much on the character.Even if the form is different, most of his basic subjects are still there; love and life in Soviet Union. Despite these themes reoccurring in generally all of his works, he's always able to take different viewpoints and it never feels repetitive. I generally don't like reading about love but Makine is far from overly sweet in this manner, he's rather bittersweet, so I still always find something to relate to. He also portrays the soviet life magnificently, unlike with that Liksom's book there is no need to know backgrounds, nothing. With a few words he delivers so much.I had high expectations for this book and I was not disappointed. It seems that I've enjoyed Makine's newer books more as it feels that he is moving to an even more... tragic direction? The earlier works seemed to house more happy endings and shared feelings, whereas this book and his previous translated book The Life of an Unknown Man have shifted more towards the alienation theme. To depict decadence of something once beautiful, unrequited love, cruelty of life. The fact that one of the characters in this book commits suicide was quite a clear indication of this mood shift to me. It was also my favourite story in the book, not due to the suicide in particular but because it was just... the most striking of them all.Definitely in my top three Makine books!(As a sad fact it must be mentioned that Annikki Suni, the "court translator" of Makine's books passed away this summer so now I am a little fearfully waiting if there is anyone who can rise to her level as the translations have always been such perfection (many books that have touched me were translated by her).) less
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Outstanding. Very moving. Would love to read the original French imprint. One day. :)
As beautiful and bittersweet as love itself.
poetic, insubstantial
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