This deft, timely translation of French writer and filmmaker Carrère’s sparkling 2011 biography of Edward Limonov is an enthralling portrait of a man and his times. The subtitle is no exaggeration: Limonov, a prolific and celebrated author, cofounder of Russia’s National Bolshevik Party, onetime coleader of the Drugaya Rossiya opposition movement, and current head of Strategy-31 (which organizes protests in Russia aimed at securing the right to peacefully assemble), has led an extraordinary life. Carrère suggests that Limonov’s haphazard turns—from budding poet, disillusioned émigré, New York City butler, and Parisian literary rock star to Russian countercultural maverick, Putin opponent, and political prisoner—have been prompted by his drive for adventure and fame. Though his behavior is frequently reprehensible (including his lasting flirtation with authoritarian and fascist figures), Carrère’s Limonov never dissolves in a mess of unfathomable contradictions. Instead, he emerges as a mirror through which the vortex of culture and politics in the late-Soviet and New Russian eras is reflected. In this astute, witty account, Limonov has found his ideal biographer. There are few more enjoyable descriptions of Russia today. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 06/23/2014 Release date: 10/21/2014 Genre: Nonfiction
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