Us Conductors: A Novel

Front Cover
Tin House Books, Jun 10, 2014 - Fiction - 464 pages
4 Reviews
In a finely woven series of flashbacks and correspondence, Lev Termen, the Russian scientist, inventor, and spy, tells the story of his life to his “one true love,” Clara Rockmore, the finest theremin player in the world. In the first half of the book, we learn of Termen’s early days as a scientist in Leningrad during the Bolshevik Revolution, the acclaim he receives as the inventor of the theremin, and his arrival in 1930s New York under the aegis of the Russian state. In the United States he makes a name for himself teaching the theremin to eager music students and marketing his inventions to American companies. In the second half, the novel builds to a crescendo as Termen returns to Russia, where he is imprisoned in a Siberian gulag and later brought to Moscow, tasked with eavesdropping on Stalin himself. Throughout all this, his love for Clara remains constant and unflagging, traveling through the ether much like a theremin’s notes. Us Conductors is steeped in beauty, wonder, and looping heartbreak, a sublime debut that inhabits the idea of invention on every level.
 

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User Review  - gypsysmom - LibraryThing

When this book won the Giller Prize it took everyone by surprise. Now that I have read it I can see why it won. It is a haunting love story set in a time of tremendous upheaval. The only complaint I ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Romonko - LibraryThing

I don't know what to say about this book. It was so complex and so believable with wonderful characters that I can't believe this is a first novel for Sean Michaels. The best compliment that I can ... Read full review

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Selected pages

Contents

1 Dials
11
2 Pink Orange Red
31
3 The Color of Spring
71
4 Taste the Floor
103
5 Age of Consent
131
6 Closer
157
7 Plain Tiger
175
8 Hair of the Dog
199
2 A Person Isnt Safe Anywhere These Days
289
3 Perfume Garden
309
4 Disorder
333
5 The Village
349
6 Swimming Horses
393
7 Tarantula
409
8 The Morning Fog
425
Postscript
451

9 Return of the Roughnecks
225
10 Blank Sheets
249
PART TWO
283
1 Unicorn
285
Authors Note and Acknowledgements
457
Author Biography
460
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

Sean Michaels is a writer and music critic. A two-time National Magazine Award winner, his work has been published by the Guardian, McSweeney's, the Walrus, Brick, Pitchfork, The Believer, and many other outlets. In 2003, he founded the music-blog Said the Gramophone. He lives in Montreal.

Bibliographic information