(From the publisher):
The narrator is a young Russian army doctor, sent to distant shores to bind the wounds of those in third- and fourth-world countries in Africa, the Near East, and South America that are pawns in the global political chess game during the Cold War between America and the U.S.S.R. Later recruited by an old-time intelligence agent, the narrator spends three years deeply involved in the mini-wars -- the revolutions and counterrevolutions -- that constantly erupt all over the globe, more often than not spawned or supported by the superpowers.
The book flashes back to the narrator’s grandfather, Nikolai, a Red cavalry soldier fighting the Whites in 1920 who one day, overwhelmed by all the senseless killing, deserts and returns to his native village. On his way home, in a forest riddled with the graves of soldiers who had been buried alive by their killers, he finds and disinters a young woman whom he saves and eventually marries. A son is born, Pavel, the narrator’s father, whose story of World War II is invoked with a passion and force that bear comparison to the best writing on the subject. But, war weary like his father, Pavel retreats to a remote forest in the Caucasus, in a vain attempt to escape the increasing tyrannies of the postwar Soviet era. It is there, in that idyllic retreat from the world, that the narrator is born.
Moving back and forth in time -- from the battlefields of the 1920s to the harsh African heat and dust of the desert in the 1980s, from the orphanage where the narrator spent his youth to the art galleries and chic salons of the glittering West -- Requiem for a Lost Empire has all the sweep and depth, all the beauty and insight of the great Russian novels.
Original title: Requiem pour l'est
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ European→ Russia