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The President's Last Love

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  308 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Récit des années qui ont vu l'ascension en Ukraine, des années 1980 à 2015, de Serguei Bounine, un homme ordinaire que rien ne prédestinait à devenir le président de la république ukrainienne.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 6th 2007 by Harvill Secker (first published 2004)
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Description: A major new novel from the author of Death and the Penguin.
Moscow, January 2013. Bunin, the Ukrainian President, has joined other heads of state in an open air swimming pool, to celebrate the Fourth Centenary of the Romanov Dynasty. Treading water, and drinking vodka with Putin, he's on top of his game and in fine health. Yet two years later Bunin undergoes a heart transplant, with very serious repercussions... Rewind to the early '90s; the Soviet Union has crumbled and in the mids
Michael Conland
Aug 26, 2015 Michael Conland rated it liked it
This is a tough one to rate. Does it deserve a 3 or a 4? I'm not sure. I hope I'll know by the time I complete this review.

So, one of the stand-out features of this novel is that it's written in the first person in an almost journal form, but you are getting three different time streams being told simultaneously. The chapters (which are very short) typically run in the order of the year 2015 onwards, then late 80s and then early 2000s. This gives the story an interesting arc. Initially, a lot of
Sarah Little
Mar 10, 2013 Sarah Little rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this book to some extent.

The book describes three periods in the President's life simultaneously, so you keep flipping backwards and forwards in time. In some sense I really liked this - it puts the whole of the President's life into context. For example, you know when you're reading about earlier periods what is going to be happening in later periods, so that what is currently happening is transitory - for example, you know that the relationship you're reading about must break down,
Stephanie Augustin
Jul 31, 2011 Stephanie Augustin rated it really liked it
With the dark surroundings familiar to readers of Russian anti-establishment novels offset by the little moments of Ukrainian humour like furniture and alcohol musings, Andrey Kurkov's writing is a breath of fresh air to readers who appreciate slice of life stories. Admittedly the life in question is Ukrainian President Bunin, but his character merely acts as an observer to the Ukraine pre and post Soviet Union as well as the machinations of his loyal yet twisted subordinates against an ...more
A great read. A bit torn between a 3 and a 4 rating. Not quite gripping enough for a 4 I've decided.
300th review! Hooray!

Written in 2004 from the standpoint of 2016, this novel has turned-out remarkably prophetic, not least in that the Ukrainian president elected in 2004 proved to be a one-term president; that his successor (elected 2010) attempts to maintain and defend some middle ground between Russia and the west; and that Vladimir Putin will return in 2012 to the Russian presidency that he vacated in 2008.

Well, OK, with hindsight much of that perhaps wasn't too hard to predict, and may hav
Ho letteralmente A MA T O il libro d'esordio di quest'autore ucraino apparso in Italia negli anni '90 con il titolo "Picnic sul ghiaccio" ed anche il seguito intitolato "I pinguini non vanno mai in vacanza", che vedono protagonista un ingenuo scrittore fallito che si ritrova a scrivere necrologi di uomini politici e di cultura non ancora morti ma che spariscono sistematicamente dopo ogni richiesta di necrologio. Suo fedele compagno di avventure e disavventure è il pinguino Micha, che questi si ...more
Nov 13, 2011 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Andrey Kurkov is one of those writers I keep forgetting about and then re-discovering. I first encountered him work with Death And The Penguin
several years ago but since reading that and its sequel (Penguin Lost) I forgot about him until I read about him in The Complete Polysylabbic Spree, which led me to reading A Matter of Death and Life. After reading that I vowed not to forget him, but it wasn’t until I saw some of his books on display in Waterstones that I remembered my vow. I immediately b
Johann Guenther
Aug 10, 2012 Johann Guenther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
KURKOW, Andrej: „Die letzte Liebe des Präsidenten“, Zürich 2007
Ein Roman, der einen Mitteleuropäer in eine andere Welt führt. Ein Roman, der in einem sehr guten und leicht lesbaren, aber auch interessantem Stil geschrieben ist. Ein Roman mit einer eigenartigen Struktur. Die Geschichte eines Präsidenten wird nicht sequentiell erzählt, sondern in drei Zeitfenstern. Ein Kapitel aus den 70er und 80er Jahren wird gefolgt von einem zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts und abgeschlossen mit dem Jahr 2015 und
Helen Farrell
Jun 14, 2012 Helen Farrell rated it really liked it
What an interesting book. For me, thinking about it again 18 months after having read it (well, that's a recommendation in itself), it demonstrates the haphazard route by which people come to power, and how those in power are often mere pawns in the hands of the men and women behind them. Although the book begins with a demonstration of the power wielded by president Bunin (he orders that the birds be silenced outside his window, and this is done almost immediately), by the end of the book, this ...more
L'auteur raconte en parall?le trois ?tapes de la vie de son h?ros qui est en fait le pr?sident de l'Ukraine. Il d?crit la jeunesse de son h?ros (ann?es 80), le milieu de sa vie d'adulte (vers 2004) et sa p?riode de pr?sidence (2015). Cette narration lui permet de d?crire l'?volution du pays ? partir de l'aire post sovi?tique et de faire des suppositions pour l'avenir. Dans ce roman, le pr?sident de l'Ukraine est en r?alit? un homme bien seul qui a les plus grandes difficult?s ? savoir lesquels ...more
Aug 05, 2008 Gracia rated it really liked it
Hilarious and challenging, I was so happy to discover this book on the shelf of my local bookstore. Having enjoyed the characters and story lines in his earlier novels (Death and the Penguin and all the others), I greedily plunged in, delighted that this novel spanned forty years.

"It is snowing and everything is astonishingly white and clean. Pressing my nose to the cold pane, I look down. Our caretaker has dug narrow paths through the snow, along which warmly clad women with shopping baskets a
Jul 29, 2011 Sjonni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kurkov has been really popular ever since he published his first novel "Death and the Penguin" at some point in the late 90's. I had promised myself to read his stuff ever since I saw him interviewed on French television back then. Fortunately, I have had the chance to become disturbingly obsessed with Ukraine in the mean-time. Thouroughly inspired writing that reveals depths of ukrainian-ess not otherwise accessible. It's so enjoyable it makes you want to leave at once and spend the next three ...more
Kurkov writes marvellously absurd, droll satire, and while he'd be hard pressed to top his fabulous A Matter of Life and Death here he takes us into a sprawling interwoven tale of loss, power, corruption, and the sanctification of Vladimir Illych Lenin – as well as a miraculous potato. His tone seldom varies so the highest elation and the greatest tragedy emerge as they do in the everyday – out of the blue. All in all, a fine satire of the Soviet and post-Soviet life.
Sep 10, 2013 mcq rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love it! It is kind of a slow story with many, many characters but from the start you are wondering how it all will come together. Wonderful story with great 'Kurkovian' events. And keeping various eastern Europe political situations from the last couple of years in mind, this book feels terrifyingly real.
Jul 27, 2011 Antje added it
captured my imagination and held on to it hard enough to make me finish it. but didn`t deliver what its triple voiced narrator so postmodernly promised. ultimately left me cold (not quite as cold as The President`s ice cubed baths, though). ...more
Dec 18, 2007 Eugene rated it really liked it
From the author of Death and the Penguin, more Ukrainian shenanigans. Despite having four story lines in four decades running concurrently, this zips along with characteristic deadpan humour, imagining life of the President of Ukraine in 2016. Great fun.
May 25, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing
Andrey Kurkov writes very interesting books if you're looking for dry humor, post-Soviet of course, but very much all about the human condition. They are easy to read and quite fun.
Oct 02, 2009 Julie rated it really liked it
I recommend this one for anyone interested in Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union. Delightfully cynical.
James D
Aug 11, 2013 James D rated it really liked it
I love reading books by new (to me) authors about unfamiliar topics.

Kurkov tells a complex story in an inventive, engaging style.
Bogdan Obraz
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Nov 16, 2016
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Dec 02, 2012
Menna rated it it was ok
Apr 16, 2013
Lola Smirnova
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Jun 03, 2015
Jamie rated it liked it
Aug 11, 2015
Yuri Kotik
Yuri Kotik rated it really liked it
Jun 25, 2012
Erdmannlibob rated it liked it
Mar 23, 2014
Elizabeth Coleman
Elizabeth Coleman rated it really liked it
Dec 06, 2014
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Ukrainian writer writing in Russian. He was born in small town Budogoszcz in Leningrad area, Russia, but his family moved to Kyiv, Ukraine when he was young. In 1983 he graduated Kyiv Pedagogical Academy of Foreign Languages. Later he also completed a Japanese translation training. He started writing in age of six and he had a hobby of collecting cactuses - he collected nearly 1,500 of them. ...more
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