This is how Emmanuel Carrère, the magnetic journalist, novelist, filmmaker, and chameleon, describes his subject: "Limonov is not a fictional character. There. I know him. He has been a young punk in Ukraine, the idol of the Soviet underground; a bum, then a multimillionaire's butler in Manhattan; a fashionable writer in Paris; a lost soldier in the Balkans; and now, in the fantastic shambles of postcommunism, the elderly but charismatic leader of a party of young desperadoes. He sees himself as a hero; you might call him a scumbag: I suspend my judgment on the matter. It's a dangerous life, an ambiguous life: a real adventure novel. It is also, I believe, a life that says something. Not just about him, Limonov, not just about Russia, but about all our history since the end of the Second World War."
So Eduard Limonov isn't fictional—but he might as well be. This pseudobiography isn't a novel, but it reads like one: from Limonov's grim childhood to his desperate, comical, ultimately successful attempts to gain the respect of Russia's literary intellectual elite; to his immigration to New York, then to Paris; to his return to the motherland. Limonov could be read as a charming picaresque. But it could also be read as a troubling counternarrative of the second half of the twentieth century, one that reveals a violence, an anarchy, a brutality, that the stories we tell ourselves about progress tend to conceal.
Emmanuel Carrère, born in Paris in 1957, is a writer, scriptwriter, and film producer. He is the award-winning, internationally renowned author of The Mustache, Class Trip, The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception (a New York Times Notable Book), My Life as a Russian Novel, and Lives Other Than My Own, which was awarded the Globe de Cristal for Best Novel in 2010 and the Prix des lecteurs de L'Express, the Prix Marie Claire du roman d'émotion, and the Prix Crésus in 2009. For Limonov, Carrère received the Prix Renaudot and the Prix des prix in 2011 and the Europese Literatuurprijs in 2013. He lives in Paris.
John Lambert grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, and studied philosophy in Paris before moving to Berlin, where he now lives with his wife and two children. In addition to Emmanuel Carrère's Limonov, he has translated Monsieur, Reticence, and Self-Portrait Abroad by Jean- Philippe Toussaint.
Olga Andreyev Carlisle has never lived in Russia, and yet throughout her life Russia has never been far. Far From Russia captures the enduring grip of Russia, and how the idea of that homeland shaped her world. We see her first as an aspiring painter in post-World War II Paris, savoring her independent life. There she falls in love with an American G.I., Henry Carlisle. With Henry, she comes to the United States, to Nantucket, where she is introduced to his family's more reserved ways. In New York City, Olga begins to piece together a community in a strange land of artists and writers including, Robert Lowell and Robert Motherwell. Carlisle makes vivid the influential and heady times of both postwar Paris and New York.
Selected by the New York Times as one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years
In Sri Lanka, a tsunami sweeps a child out to sea, her grand-father helpless against the onrushing water. In France, a young woman succumbs to illness, leaving her husband and small children bereft. Present at both events, Emmanuel Carrère sets out to tell the story of two families—shattered and ultimately restored. What he accomplishes is nothing short of a literary miracle: a heartrending narrative of endless love, a meditation on courage and decency in the face of adversity, an intimate and reverent look at the extraordinary beauty and nobility of ordinary lives.
Precise, sober, and suspenseful, as full of twists and turns as any novel, Lives Other Than My Own confronts terrifying catastrophes to illuminate the astonishing richness of human connection: a grandfather who thought he had found paradise—too soon—and now devotes himself to helping his neighbors rebuild their village; a husband so in love with his ailing wife that he carries her in his arms like a knight does his princess; and finally, Carrère himself, longtime chronicler of the tormented self, who unexpectedly finds consolation and even joy as he immerses himself in the lives of others.
“Moving...Carrère’s prose is precise and measured...Through interviews with friends and relatives of both families, he creates powerful portraits that celebrate ordinary lives.”—The New Yorker
“You begin this memoir thinking it will be about one thing, and it turns into something else altogether—a book at once more ordinary and more extraordinary than any first impressions might allow.”—The New York Times
Gripped by the tale of a Messiah whose blood we drink and body we eat, the genre-defying author Emmanuel Carrère revisits the story of the early Church in his latest work. With an idiosyncratic and at times iconoclastic take on the charms and foibles of the Church fathers, Carrère ferries readers through his “doors” into the biblical narrative. Once inside, he follows the ragtag group of early Christians through the tumultuous days of the faith’s founding.
Shouldering biblical scholarship like a camcorder, Carrère re-creates the climate of the New Testament with the acumen of a seasoned storyteller, intertwining his own account of reckoning with the central tenets of the faith with the lives of the first Christians. Carrère puts himself in the shoes of Saint Paul and above all Saint Luke, charting Luke’s encounter with the marginal Jewish sect that eventually became Christianity, and retracing his investigation of its founder, an obscure religious freak who died under notorious circumstances.
Boldly blending scholarship with speculation, memoir with journalistic muckraking, Carrère sets out on a headlong chase through the latter part of the Bible, drawing out protagonists who believed they were caught up in the most important events of their time. An expansive and clever meditation on belief, The Kingdom chronicles the advent of a religion, and the ongoing quest to find a place within it.