(From the publisher):
Dreams of My Russian Summers tells the poignant story of a boy growing up amid the harsh realities of Soviet life in the 1960s and 70s, and of his extraordinary love for an elegant Frenchwoman, Charlotte Lemonnier, who is his grandmother. Every summer he visits his grandmother in a dusty village overlooking the vast steppes. Here, during the warm evenings, they sit on Charlotte's narrow, flower-covered balcony and listen to tales from another time, another place: Paris at the turn of the century. She who used to see Proust playing tennis in Neuilly captivates the childen with stories of Tsar Nicholas's visit to Paris in 1896, of the great Paris flood of 1910, of the death of French president Félix Faure in the arms of his mistress. But from Charlotte the boy also learns of a Russia he has never known, of famine and misery, of brutal injustice, of the hopeless chaos of war. He follows her as she travels by foot from Moscow half the way to Siberia; suffers with her as she tells of her husband -- his grandfather -- a victim of Stalin's purges; shudders as she describes her own capture by bandits, who brutalized her and left her for dead. Could all this pain and suffering really have happened to his gentle, beloved Charlotte? Mesmerized, the boy weaves Charlotte's stories into his own secret universe of memory and dream. Yet, despite all the deprivations and injustices of the Soviet world, he like many Russians still feels a strong affinity with and "an indestructible love" for his homeland.
Original title: Le testament français
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction
Fiction→ Historical→ European→ 20th Century
Fiction→ Historical→ European→ Russia