- 9,99 €
- 9,99 €
Beschreibung des Verlags
'A wonderful book ... His story is so extraordinary and so beautifully and deftly told ... heartbreaking' Observer, Books of the Year
'The grace of Michaels's style makes these times and places seem entirely new. He succeeds at one of the hardest things a writer can do: he makes music seem to sing from the pages of a novel' Giller Prize Jury
Locked in a cabin, on a ship bound for Leningrad, Lev Termen types a letter to Clara, his 'one true love'. He recalls his early years as a scientist, inventing the musical theremin and other electric marvels, and the Kremlin's dream that these creations could help infiltrate capitalism itself. Instead, Manhattan infiltrated Termen – he fell in love with the city's jazz clubs and speakeasies, and with Clara, a beautiful young violinist.
When Termen's spy games fall apart, he returns to find the Motherland not quite as he left it. Exiled to a Siberian gulag, with nothing but his wits to keep him alive, Termen is drawn ever deeper into the labyrinth of Stalin's Russia. Only his feelings for Clara, passing through the ether like the theremin's song, seem to show a way out.
Michaels's first novel glitters, threatens, and sometimes horrifies, but it lacks a center. The book is a fictionalized autobiography of Lev Sergeyvich Termen, the Russian scientist and inventor of the theremin, an eerie electronic musical instrument. Sent to America to demonstrate Soviet ingenuity and to make deals with Western investors, Lev enjoys the Prohibition-era high life and weathers the stock market crash of 1929, while reporting to his minders and spying as assigned. In a novel so deeply concerned with the Communism of Lenin and Stalin, it's notable that Lev's character has a near total absence of interest in questions of political economy and personal freedom. He progresses through many stages of use and abuse at the hands of his government, and then goes through a period of relatively benign imprisonment, surprised that a fellow inmate makes a point of refusing to volunteer for extra labor. Lev meets the love of his life in America, but he can't make it work with her and doesn't understand why. Perhaps his other marriages are part of the problem and why does he keep marrying, anyway? Michaels renders historical moments that are interesting in themselves but ultimately can't compensate for his opaque hero.