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Archipelago of Another Life

A Novel

Translated by Geoffrey Strachan

"This novel about hunting an escapee from Stalinist gulag reads like a Siberian Heart of Darkness." —​Julian Barnes

On the far eastern borders of the Soviet Union, in the sunset of Stalin’s reign, soldiers are training for a war that could end all wars, for in the atomic age man has sown the seeds of his own destruction.

Among them is Pavel Gartsev, a reservist. Orphaned, scarred by the last great war and unlucky in love, he 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.

But the fugitive, capable, cunning, and evidently at home in the depths of these vast forests, proves no easy prey. As the pursuit goes on, and the pursuers are struck by a shattering discovery, Gartsev confronts both the worst within himself and the tantalizing prospect of another, totally different life.

"This novel about hunting an escapee from Stalinist gulag reads like a Siberian Heart of Darkness."—Julian Barnes
"Makine has justifiably been compared to Tolstoy but here I think the better reference is Joseph Conrad."—THE SPECTATOR
"A powerful story of metaphysical adventure."—Marianne Payot, L'Express

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

"As good as Stendhal or Tolstoy . . . I would rather read him than anyone else now writing."—Allan Massie, Literary Review

"One of the significant novelists of our age."—Stephanie Merritt, Observer

"Makine packs great steppes-full of history into compact, bejewelled boxes of prose."—Boyd Tonkin, Independent.

"Makine's wonderful economy of image and phrase convey far more than one could think possible about the Russian soul."—Anthony Beevor, Daily Telegraph

More books from this author: Andreï Makine