Once Upon the River Love

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Arcade Pub., 1998 - Fiction - 209 pages
1 Review
In the Immense Virgin Pine Forests of Siberia, where the snows of winter are vast and endless, sits the little village of Svetlaya. In the early years of the century the village had been larger, more prosperous, but time and the pendulum of history had reduced it by the 1970s to no more than a cluster of izbas.
But for three young men - the handsome young Alyosha, the crippled Utkin, and the older, dashing Samurai - little is needed to construct their own special universe. Despite the harshness of the environment and their meager resources, the three adolescents form a tight band of friendship and dream of another life, a world of passion and love. The warm lights of the Transsiberian train passing through give them fleeting glimpses of that other world. And when they learn one day that a Western film is being shown at the Red October Theatre in the closest real city, Nerlug, twenty miles away on the mighty Amur River, they trek for hours on snow shoes to see it. Through that film, starring the French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo and replete with gorgeous women whom he succeeds in seducing one after the other with consummate ease, the boys' lives are changed forever. Over the next several months they travel seventeen times to see their hero. And when that film is replaced by another that is equally daring and seductive, their obsession only grows.
Written from the perspective of twenty years after these youthful events, Once Upon the River Love follows the destinies of these three young idealists up to the present day, to the boardwalks of Brighton Beach and the jungles of Central America.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BookAddict - LibraryThing

As a lover of Russian and French literature, this modern Russian writer, writing in French, has proven to me that this superiority in literature is not dead. This novel, just over 200 pages, was ... Read full review

Once upon the River Love

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The second book by Makine to be released here in as many years, this delicate, beautifully rendered little work reads like a precursor to the magisterial Dreams of My Russian Summers (LJ 7/97). Once ... Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Andrei Makine was born in Siberia in 1957. Although raised in the Soviet Union, he learned about France and came to love that country through the stories told by his French grandmother. He now lives in Paris himself, having been granted political asylum by France in 1987, and writes in French. His grandmother figures prominently in the autobiographical novel, "Dreams of My Russian Summers," for which Makine received both the Goncourt Prize and the Medicis Prize, becoming the first author to simultaneously receive both of these prestigious French awards. In the U.S., the English translation of "Dreams of My Russian Summers" has also received recognition, including the Boston Book Review Fiction Prize and the Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year award. Andrei Makine is also the author of "Once Upon the River Love" and "The Crime of Olga Arbelina.

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