Michèle Roberts

Out of Steppe

Brief Loves that Live Forever


MacLehose Press 174pp £12 order from our bookshop

Andreï Makine, born and brought up in Russia and one of his country’s greatest novelists, writes in French. Brief Lives that Live Forever reaches us in its crisp, elegant English version thanks to Geoffrey Strachan, who has translated all of Makine’s novels published in English to date. The Russian language is not quite absent: important terms such as ‘gulag’ and ‘samizdat’ dot the text, bringing a vanished form of speech and a vanished social system into clear view. By retaining these significant Russian words in his translation, Strachan emphasises how Makine’s novel circles around themes of exile and loss. The presence of ‘official’ words to do with rules and regulations contrasts with the repression of others: love, desire, home, soul.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • The entertaining Howard Jacobson is in conversation with Prof John Mullan at the Queen’s Park Book Festival on Sund… ,
    • 'A modest and retiring man, Thompson spent his life describing apple varieties and recommending the best – Ribston… ,
    • 'Macfarlane is a poet with the instincts of a thriller writer, an autodidact in botany, mycology, geology and palae… ,
    • 'Some scholars attribute Shakespeare’s pre-eminence to four centuries of propaganda and not to the fact that Hamlet… ,
    • RT : We would appreciate any retweets ,
    • We've just stumbled on a gem from the LR archive. The emoluments page from May 1995, in which one reviewer asked to… ,
    • Unlike Mary Shelley's monstrous creation, Jeanette Winterson's Frankenstein-inspired novel feels 'barely alive', sa… ,