Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dreams of My Russian Summers” as Want to Read:
Dreams of My Russian Summers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dreams of My Russian Summers

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  1,995 Ratings  ·  203 Reviews
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 Ch
...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published December 31st 1998 by Touchstone Books (first published December 6th 1995)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dreams of My Russian Summers, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

MvonWunsch I'm not sure whether that is the title, but it is often found as "Sur une barricade, au milieu des pavés" or just "Sur une barricade" (and it's…moreI'm not sure whether that is the title, but it is often found as "Sur une barricade, au milieu des pavés" or just "Sur une barricade" (and it's translated as "On the barricade" in English, I think).(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Kalliope
The Goncourt prize in France seems to be drawn to Russian writers who can write French better than many French natives.

In 1938 it was awarded to Henri Troyat (né Lev Aslanovitch Tarasov) for his L’Araigne. He later became a Member of L’Académie Française. In 1956 and again in 1975 it was awarded to Romain Gary (né Roman Kacew). And more recently, in 1995, André Makine (a.k.a. Gabriel Osmonde) received this prestigious prize.

Had Nabokov been the son not of an Anglophile but of a Francophile, we w
...more
Rowena
Dec 26, 2015 Rowena rated it it was amazing
"So I saw things differently; was it an advantage? Or a handicap, a blemish?... I understood that this second view of things would have to be hidden for it could only provoke mockery from others."- Andrei Makïne, Dreams of my Russian Summers

One of my interests in recent years has been in reading books about, and talking to people with cross-cultural upbringings, and it amazes me how much is similar between people who were, like me, brought up in this way. It's even more interesting to encount
...more
Fionnuala
Jan 25, 2015 Fionnuala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-french
Several of the books I have been reading recently have been about place.
Together they show how the history of a community and the geography of a region can be combined and recorded so that they remain alive and vibrant rather than gathering dust in the archives.
In Cosmopolitan Europe: A Strasbourg Self-Portrait, the geographer John Western records the history and geography of the city of Strasbourg on the French/German border through wonderfully immediate interviews with its citizens; the read
...more
Hana
Apr 24, 2015 Hana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hana by: Kseniya Melnik
On a flower-covered balcony, cooled by Siberia’s dusty summer breezes, a grandmother tells stories to her grandson, the narrator, and granddaughter. But she is not just any grandmother, nor are these just any times. The grandmother is a Frenchwoman and these are the 1960s in the Soviet Union. Yet on that balcony, the USSR disappears and the children are immersed in another reality—the reality of memories of things and worlds past. They speak in French, and the language, the words, become part of ...more
Bettie☯
Feb 23, 2015 Bettie☯ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: belly button mining lit lovers
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim
Oct 09, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing
It's a French novel. It's a Russian novel. It's a French novel about Russia. It's a Russian novel about France. It's all of those things. As a Hungarian-American, I am almost never unaware of my own dual nature. So too is Alyosha, the narrator of this tale of his encounters in Saranza, Western Siberia, with his French grandmother, Charlotte Lemonnier.

Andrei Makine's Dreams of My Russian Summers is a wonderful autobiographical novel about never quite being a unified whole, but part of a centrifug
...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Oct 16, 2016 Inderjit Sanghera rated it really liked it
Andrei Makine’s beautifully dappled style, the conflagration of colours which leap from the page and the obsession with memory and the past recalls Proust (who makes an appearance in the novel); Makine lacks Proust’s genius, yet ‘Dreams of My Russian Summers’ reverberates with beauty and pathos.

The story follows the story of a young Russian who is torn between the exoticism, grace and individuality of French culture, as represented by his French grandmother, Charlotte, and the autocracy and bru
...more
Marie
Jan 16, 2011 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: français-europe
C'est ma deuxième lecture du merveilleux roman d'Andreï Makine. Ce roman se mérite les prix Gongourt, Médicis et Gongourt des lycéens. Quel plaisir de relire ce roman qui décrit la relation d'un jeune garçon russe dont l'identité est forgé en partie par sa grand-mère française qui vit dans un village isolée de la Sibérie. Les relations, les vies et les choix se révèlent plus complexes et tragiques que ce que le garçon avait pressenti.
Une écriture riche et juste. Des paysages et des vies à la gr
...more
Alexandra Anghel
O frumusețe. Pașii evocării se ivesc la fiecare colț al povestirii.
Mmars
Jun 03, 2012 Mmars rated it liked it
First, let me say that this is another one of those book I read a long time ago. One of those that passes through my mind from time to time with a bit of wistfulness. There are scenes that are vivid. But mostly it leaves me unsettled. Reading something in English, that was written in French, telling memories of a Russian childhood made me wonder what I could possibly be missing.

On the other hand, it was an intriguing cultural read and sadly, it's rare to run across a book in which a grown man f
...more
Powerock
Apr 05, 2010 Powerock rated it really liked it
Still reading but more comments -- This book received the Prix Goncourt. Did not know about the flood in Paris in 1910(?). I love the children's curiosity about the Grandmother's life, the places she lived. Can relate to the wonderment as a child stars at the photos of those long gone. More later.

Occasionally, the author's language seems a bit convoluted and the settings jump around without due warning. I know this is current construction of tales but this latter was a bit obtuse.

Was, however, a
...more
UChicagoLaw
To me, it is the most poetic, original and beautifully written book about a search for an identity and a life between two cultures. It is a special book for me given my own attempt to embrace an American life yet retain all that is Finnish in me. Still, I trust that Makine’s delicate yet powerful story will captivate everyone. - Anu Bradford
Helen Stanton
May 28, 2015 Helen Stanton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pondering on roots, identity and memory as well as a look at the turbulent history of Russia in the 20th Century . I did find the language a little challenging at times but a book that was definitely worth the effort .
Lavinia
Dec 17, 2015 Lavinia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Marcel, we need a date asap.
Belinda
The first thing to say about Le Testament Francais is that it is pretentious. Published elsewhere in English as Dreams of My Russian Summers, Andrei Makine's novel seems to be somewhat auto/biographical, although a quick poke around google shows this as something of a questionable claim.

Regardless of the truth of the story and its pretensions, Le Testament Francais is one of the most beautifully written and translated books I have ever read. Each word seems carefully picked to bestow maximum wei
...more
Kirsten
May 20, 2009 Kirsten rated it really liked it
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. The prose is flowery (reminded me a little of Orhan Pamuk's scented pages) but ultimately seemed right for this slipping in and out of memory, going between a French past and a Russian present, between languages. I liked the urgency of the adolescent narrator's frustration in trying to reconcile the world of stories and feelings and ideas with the world in front of his face. He's alert to poignancy--he finds it everywhere and makes his reeling ...more
Pat Pujolas
Sep 08, 2013 Pat Pujolas rated it it was amazing
Makine is the most profound author of our generation. There might be writers who can paint a prettier picture (see also, Best American Short Stories), but there is nobody on this earth who can challenge our perceptions on what it means to be human (to live, love, laugh, and die) like this fellow. Please disagree with me. Please recommend someone better. I look forward to reading. Thanks
Raghda Elwakil
Sep 22, 2015 Raghda Elwakil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foreign-novels
مليئة بالاحداث التاريخية الحزينة عن ماضي روسيا ايام الحرب..!

بطل الرواية يعيش صراع مع ماضي جدته الفرنسية ومع الواقع الروسي الذي يعيش فيه..!!

في النهاية رح تعرف سبب كون بطل الرواية كان يقول اسم جدته "شارلوت" بدل قول جدتي..!!
Adriana
Jan 15, 2017 Adriana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fără cuvinte. Ele nu pot cuprinde sau exprima frumuseţea acestei cărţi.

Poate doar muzica va reuşi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=578ueQC1xyM
Victor Morosoff
Dec 28, 2015 Victor Morosoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un roman chaleureux et enchanteur, bien que très nostalgique et intime. Les phrases de Makine ont souvent l'aspect de petits poèmes d'un contenu ineffable. 4,3/5
Czarny Pies
Oct 17, 2016 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-lit
Le monde avait besoin de ce roman qui montre l'autre côté de la médaille de tant d'excellentes oeuvres sur l'expérience émigré. Parmi bien d'autres, Joseph Conrad (la Pologne Tsariste), Erich Maria Remarque (L'Allemagne Nazi) Daie Sije (La Chine Populaire), Milan Kundera (La Tchécoslovaquie), Dai Sije (La Chine Populaire), et Vladimir Nabakov (La Russie Communiste) sur des protaganistes qui ont fuit des régimes opprésives. Andrei Makine nous raconte plutot l'histoire d'une jeune francaise qui se ...more
Antenna
This review refers only to "Le Testament Français".

Admiration for Makine's short novel "La Musique d'un vie" in English translation inspired me to embark on the much longer multiple prize-winning "Testament français" in French.

It describes a sensitive Russian boy who spends summers in Siberia with the half-French grandmother Charlotte who regales him with anecdotes of Paris in the years leading up to the First World War. She backs them up with memorabilia from a battered trunk which hold the all
...more
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
Sep 21, 2011 Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
“Dreams of My Russian Summers” by Andreï Makine is a fictional, semi-autobiographical book. The book was originally written in French and has won several awards.

The book is told from a first person narrative. The book opens when the narrator, who is also the author, flips through old photographs which belonged to his grandmother. Soon the grandmother walks in and starts to reminisce about the photos.

The story continues to explore the grandmother’s life as well as the narrator’s life and how her
...more
Carol
Sep 12, 2016 Carol rated it liked it
I would have given this book three and a half stars if that were possible. The beauty of its prose was my reason for wanting to do this. I couldn't give it more because I didn't enjoy reading it enough. This is a book you are supposed to like because it has earned such high literary praise. But I rank my books by how much I enjoyed reading them, not on literary merit.

Although I know the Russia of the time was bleak, it was just too bleak for me to like reading about it. I loved the grandmother b
...more
Diane
May 25, 2012 Diane rated it it was amazing
I decided I'm going to make room on my book shelve just for those books that are so well written that I some day will reread. This one will be on it. My gosh, this man can write! I can't wait to read more of his books. It may be that I've always been drawn to books about Russia, nonfiction, mostly, but fiction too. This book is listed as fiction, but the author's life so closely parallels the book that I can see how it is sometimes referred to as autobiographical. In a way it is a coming of age ...more
yalayla
Sep 07, 2007 yalayla rated it really liked it
Autobiographical novel. I wish I could do halves, because this one is really 4 1/2. Not perfect, but as gossimer as the threads the protagonist sees in his earliest memories. I'll say out front that this is not a book for everyone. It follows the protagonist as he moves from childhood to adulthood, learning first the beauty and then the rest of the truth about his family as seen through the eyes of his grandmother. Following his life through adolescence, the author is honest enough to talk sexua ...more
Jeannie Colling
Jan 10, 2012 Jeannie Colling rated it liked it
This book probably deserves five stars. It was beautifully written, like a fine work of art. The problem is that I don't appreciate fine art like I should. Mostly, I don't get it. This is a novel memoir and coming of age story of a Soviet boy and the influence of his French grandmother. (The book was actually written in French, though the author is Russian.) The grandmother, born in the early 1900's in France, lives through the some of the most vile, desperate times in the USSR, and yet chooses ...more
Liesl Louw-Vaudran
There is an English version that is also called: Le Testament Francais. Having read it - and giving it five stars, my only full marks for a book so far - I'm now trying the French version.
It is an extraordinarily beautiful book and I understand why it won both the Prix Goncourt and the Prix Medicis. It spans a decade of Russian history with such amazing subtlety, while at the same time weaving in the personal story of the narrator discovering France and the French language through the eyes of hi
...more
Marg
Aug 19, 2015 Marg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our story teller begins as a boy - the grandson of a Parisian woman who married a Russian in the early 20th century and who now lives in a small town in the steppes of Russia. The boy and his sister travel each summer to stay with her, and every evening she tells them stories and shows them old newspaper clippings about her early life in Paris. The scenes and events she describes are memorably sketched, and the misunderstandings of a boy as he listens adds authenticity to his tale. A moving stor ...more
Ivan Kebets
Feb 24, 2016 Ivan Kebets rated it it was ok
Тот случай, когда Гонкуровская премия не гарантирует качества.

"Французское завещание" оказалось на удивление рваной, лоскутной и - что особенно печально для автобиографии - неискренней книгой. Нет, безусловно, есть у Макина замечательные, настоящие отрывки. Почти вся первая часть с детскими воспоминаниями о бабушке такая. Но многочисленные вычурные, претенциозные конструкции всё рушат. Все эти экзистенциальные метания и надуманные монологи оставляют только едкое ощущение пустоты и фальши. Не вер
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Dream Life of Sukhanov
  • The Women's Decameron
  • Summer in Baden-Baden
  • Unforgiving Years
  • Maidenhair
  • Fear: A Novel of World War I
  • Watermark
  • Cursed Days: Diary of a Revolution
  • The Fierce and Beautiful World
  • Farewell to Matyora
  • The Queue
  • Monumental Propaganda
  • The Ogre
  • The Portable Nineteenth-Century Russian Reader (Portable Library)
  • The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years
  • Red Victory: A History of the Russian Civil War, 1918-1921
  • Wave of Terror
  • The Betrayal
78176
Andreï Makine was born in Krasnoyarsk, Soviet Union on 10 September 1957 and grew up in city of Penza, a provincial town about 440 miles south-east of Moscow. As a boy, having acquired familiarity with France and its language from his French-born grandmother (it is not certain whether Makine had a French grandmother; in later interviews he claimed to have learnt French from a friend), he wrote poe ...more
More about Andreï Makine...

Share This Book