Andreï Makine’s first novels sold badly, only a few hundred copies apiece. Then he wrote Le Testament Français, which won the Prix Goncourt and became an international success. It was, to offer a simple account of an intricate novel, the story of a Frenchwoman caught up in the Soviet Union, surviving its brutal history, and instilling in the narrator, her grandson, a love, indeed longing, for French culture, so that eventually he leaves the Soviet Union and becomes a French novelist.
The Earth and Sky of Jacques Dorme has, in part, a similar theme. It may even be read as a gloss on the earlier novel, and there is indeed one scene which suggests that what Makine has now written is a new version of material excised from Le Testament Français