Un Roman Russe

by Emmanuel Carrère

Paperback, 2011



Call number



P.O.L. / Folio (2011), 399 pages


In work after work, the critically acclaimed author Emmanuel Carrère has trained his unblinking gaze on the lives of others as they fight a losing battle with that most fearsome of adversaries-the self. Now, determined to escape the bleak visions of his narratives, he takes on a film project in the heart of Russia while also embarking on a new love affair back home in Paris. But soon enough, the diversion he seeks eludes him, intimacy proves too arduous, and Carrère is left peering into the dark mirror of his own life.Set in Paris and Kotelnich, a small post-Soviet town, My Life as a Russian Novel traces Carrère's pursuit of two obsessions-the disappearance of his Russian grandfather and his erotic fascination with a woman he loves but cannot keep from destroying. In prose that is elegant and passionate, Carrère weaves the strands of his story into a travelogue of a journey inward. Road trip, confession, erotic tour de force-this fearless reckoning illuminates the schemes we devise to evade ourselves and the inevitable payment they exact.… (more)

Media reviews

Carrère’s priority of frankness has forged, from book to book, new ways of managing to be truthful, new ways of including the first person. [...] Even to call his recent books, as Carrère sometimes has, “nonfiction novels” doesn’t do much to clarify what makes them so unusual. Though it’s easy to notice the mechanics of a Carrère book — his characteristic inclusion of himself in the proceedings, his habitual inclusion of the process by which the book in question is being formed — what is genuinely original in Carrère’s work is the sensibility that animates those varied approaches, infused as it is with Carrère’s at-times-skeptical, at-times-maniacal way of thinking, his well-stocked intelligence, his spare, unfussily lyrical prose, his shameproof feed of uncensored interiority, his tireless storytelling energy and his unstinting attempts and, importantly, failures at maintaining sympathy for his subjects.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Clara53
Mixed feelings. At the start, I see a sort of self-indulgent man writing a memoir of 3 years out of his life. I see some display of self-pity, am taken aback by a tawdry interlude at about the middle of the book... But then it becomes more poignant and serious. He is searching for an outlet for his grief and bewilderment over the loss of his grandfather who vanished in Paris in mysterious circumstances during German invasion in World War II. His grandfather being of Russian (Georgian) descent, the author is taking trips to Russia, first on a film assignment as a writer and then - as if drawn to his Russian roots through his mother and grandfather. In the meantime, he is having his own relationship problems... He is being looked at askance in a provincial Russian town, but finally, a Russian remarks with understanding: "You didn't just come here looking for our unhappiness, you brought your own along". The end is quite touching and sort of brings closure to the author's quest, and finally the title of the book and the front cover image start making sense.… (more)
LibraryThing member franoscar
Spoilers. I was a little confused -- is this all true or is it partly a novel? The library I checked it out from classified it under Fiction. So...I liked some of this book really well & I thought some of it dragged & was irritating. i kind of speed-read-ed the last part because it was due at the library. I read every word but I forged through when I might have put it down if I had more time. Anyway. there are some major streams of this book. One is the discovery of a Hungarian prisoner of WW2 who is still sitting in a Russian institution for the mentally ill; he is identified & repatriated & our hero takes a film crew to go film the town. This is paired with the story of the narrator's grandfather, who was possibly insane and who never really made a success of his life and who was taken from his home & presumably killed as a collaborator. So the grandfather is a missing victim of WW2 too. And then there are the love affairs; the narrator has a girlfriend who he mistreats (emotionally) and that kinda goes on & on. There is a story w/in the story of his writing a dirty story to be published in Le Monde for her to read in an elaborately planned time & place, which falls through & he freaks out. The relationship thing got pretty dull, and the narrator is honest about his failings but they are pretty irritating anyway. Meanwhile they go back with the film crew to Russia and continue to follow things in the small town, including the relationship between Sasha & Anya, & then Anya's murder. I'm sure the 2 relationships mirror each other but I'd have to spend more time thinking about the book than I will to show how. Anyway, the stuff about the grandfather is interesting, & his relationship with his mother & uncle & family in relation to their history; the relationship with Sophie less so.… (more)
LibraryThing member kakadoo202
Audiobook. A story that carries u from France to Russian and back. Exciting. Sensual. Thrilling.



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