“Music of a Life” comes to Iranian bookstores

February 12, 2022 - 19:41

TEHRAN – Russian writer Andrei Makine’s book “Music of a Life” has been published in Persian by the Mahi publishing house in Tehran.

Nahid Forughan is the translator of the book originally published in 2001.

May 24, 1941: Alexei Berg, a classical pianist, is set to perform his first solo concert in Moscow. But just before his debut, his parents – his father a famous playwright, and his mother a renowned opera singer – are exposed for their political indiscretions and held under arrest. 

With World War II on the brink, and fearing that his own entrapment is not far behind, Alexei flees to the countryside, assumes the identity of a Soviet soldier, and falls dangerously in love with a general officer’s daughter. 

What follows is a two-decades-long journey through war and peace, love and betrayal, art and artifice – a rare ensemble in the making of the music of a life.

Makine was born in 1957 and grew up in the city of Penza, a provincial town about 440 miles southeast of Moscow. As a boy, having acquired familiarity with France and its language from his French-born grandmother, he wrote poems in both French and his native Russian.

In 1987, he went to France as a member of a teacher exchange program and decided to stay. He was granted political asylum and was determined to make a living as a writer in French. However, Makine had to present his first manuscripts as translations from Russian to overcome publishers’ skepticism that a newly arrived exile could write so fluently in a second language. 

After disappointing reactions to his first two novels, it took eight months to find a publisher for his fourth, “Le Testament Français”. Finally published in 1995 in France, the novel became the first in history to win both the Prix Goncourt and the Prix Medicis plus the Goncourt des Lycéens.

Photo: A combination photo shows Andrei Makine and the front cover of the Persian translation of his book “Music of a Life”.

MMS/YAW

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