International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards (nominee)
A moving, utterly captivating love story: Romeo and Juliet as if told by Chekhov or Dostoevsky.In the remote Russian village of Mirnoje a woman waits, as she has waited for almost three decades, for the man she loves to return. Near the end of World War II, 19-year-old Boris Koptek leaves the village to join the Russian army, swearing to the 16-year-old love of his life, Vera, that as soon as he returns they will marry. Young Boris, who with his engineering battalion fights his way almost to Berlin, is reported killed in action crossing the Spree River. But Vera refuses to believe he is dead, and each day, all these years later, faithfully awaits his return.Then one day the narrator arrives in the village, a 26-year-old native of Leningrad who is fascinated by both the still-beautiful woman and her exemplary story, and little by little falls madly in love with her. But how can he compete with a ghost that will not die?Beautifully, delicately, but always powerfully told, Andre. Makine delineates in masterly prose the movements and madness that constitute the dance of pure love.