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Book of the Week: The Archipelago of Another Life by Andreï Makine

Updated: Sep 5, 2019


"A thrilling manhunt through the taiga." Claire Devarieux Libération


The archipelago of another life is set in the far eastern borders of the Soviet Union, in the sunset of Stalin's reign. Soldiers are being trained for a war that could end all wars, an atomic war that would rush mankind into self destruction. Reservist Pavel Gartsev, orphaned, scarred by the last great war and unlucky in love, is an instant victim for the apparatchiks and ambitious careerists who thrive within the Red Army's ranks.


Assigned to a search party composed of regulars and reservists, charged with the recapture of an escaped prisoner from a nearby gulag, Gartsev finds himself one of an unlikely quintet of cynics, sadists and heroes, embarked on a challenging manhunt through the Siberian taiga.


The fugitive, capable, cunning and evidently at home in the depths of these vast forests, poses a great challenge to the squad. As the pursuit goes on, and the pursuers make a shattering discovery, Gartsev is met with a great dilemma, and torn between the worst within himself and the tantalising prospect of another, totally different life.


This book is published by MacLehose Press.



Born in Siberia in 1957 and raised in the Soviet Union, Andrei Makine now lives in Paris himself, having been granted political asylum by France in 1987. Makine is an international award winning author. His novel Dreams of my Russian Summer was both granted the Goncourt Prize and the Medicis Prize, the two highest literary awards in France, and became a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year.






Geoffrey Strachan is an award-winning translator. He translates both French and German literature into English. Best known for his renderings of the novels of French-Russian writer Andreï Makine, he has also translated Yasmina Reza, Natacha Appanah, Elie Wiesel and Jérôme Ferrari's works. His great skills have led him to uniquely win both the Scott-Moncrieff Prize (for translation from French) and theSchlegel-Tieck Prize (for translation from German).


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