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De misdaad van Olga Arbélina

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  424 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Een Russische prinses, op de vlucht voor de bolsjewieken, verlaten door een ontrouwe echtgenoot, beland met haar kind naar Frankrijk, waar zij later halfnaakt op een rivieroever wordt gevonden naast het lichaam van een man met een vreselijke hoofdwond.
Hardcover, 299 pages
Published 1999 by De Geus (first published July 1988)
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Jim Fonseca
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We begin in a world of Russian emigres living on the margin in Paris. They live in a run-down apartment complex that is a converted factory, subject to flooding from a near-by river. He sets the story up as a mystery – how did a beautiful woman end up dazed on a riverbank beside a drowned, brutish, 64-year-old man? They were in a canoe with a bottle of wine and her dress was almost ripped off her.

The story is set after the end of WW II. Olga’s in her mid-forties since we know she was born in 190
Valeriu Gherghel
Dezamăgire. După ce a scris două cărți foarte bune („Testamentul francez” și „Pe vremea fluviului Amour”), Makine a devenit grafoman.

Recenziile, inclusiv cele franțuzești, unanime în a elogia cuprinsul cărții, m-au păcălit. Postfața romanului, la fel. Am crezut că voi citi o capodoperă și am descoperit o proză grandilocventă, de un lirism dubios și cu panseluțe / cogitațiuni de felul:

„Un bărbat poate fi nemilos cu femeia al cărei trup i-a scăpat, mai ales dacă e din cauza propriei lui lașități”
Apr 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This would have been my last of the Makine novels that are available in English translation, had it not been for Lieutenant Schreiber's Country, which is a rather expensive recent hardback.

This is one of the books that most stands out from his ouevre as different - not least because it is a long way from Makine's personal experience and it is mostly set in a Russian emigre community in France just after the Second World War.

The heroine Olga Arbyelina (a princess by a now failed marriage) works

Page 28 - In the distance the glowing window of the keeper's house also resembles a night-light, gradually growing broader as they approach, and admitting them, as a candle flame does if you stare at it for long enough, thereby entering its flickering, violent life.

Page 37 - "So she was thinking about me. It's one of those questions you can never ask: What do you think of me? And yet we spend our days picturing how other people see us, picturing ourselves living in their minds. . . . "
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes, if you are lucky, a 2nd hand bookshop throws a gem like this at you. I will be hunting down other books by Andrei Makine.

The author was born in Siberia, a Russsian, though he writes in French. This is a dreamy, poetic novel that takes place primarily during the coldest winter ever recorded in a small village on the outskirts of Paris, where a beautiful, titled Russian immigrant lives with her 15 year old son. The year is 1946.

The claustophobic nature of their lives amongst the snow an
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book creeped me right out, and yet I couldn't just stop reading it. I don't think I'd recommend it to anybody, so I'll just go ahead and say it's about incest and the subsequent madness of the mother. The whole thing is written like being in a recurring dream, and the writing itself is decent, but I just can't really endorse it as a good book. ...more
Crasi Mihai-Nicolae
Primele 40 de pagini anunțau o carte promițătoare...dar apoi au urmat 200 de pagini de „pendulare în gol" care au transformat-o într-un „semi-eșec". ...more
Okay, let's try this.

I'm rusty.

I am rusty. That's the only word I have for what I'm feeling right now. I used to love reading books like this before. I don't know how anymore, because this isn't one of those books that breeze through cursorily, nor is it a book that you can afford to dwell on for too long either. It's something far more... precious. All sinister connotations intended.

If you've read the blurb, you know what happens. The book itself will answer the question why it happened.

In c
Sam Smith
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Andreï Makine's 'The Crime of Olga Arbyelina' the text is sensual in every respect, and delivered with such intensity. A delight is taken in every sense, every mood, every sensation, even guilt, the narrator deploying it with pleasure against her forgiving self. This is a tale where the world is felt, where all is absorbed; and it is all so beautifully written. The number of near perfect, tart sentences I've jotted in my notebooks should on their own speak for the quality of the writing here. ...more
Alexandru Bacu
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alexandru by: Alice
Don't let some of the negative reviews dissuade you, only when you get into the mind and the past of Olga Arbyelina, when you put yourself in her place, can you understand what her true crime really is :) ...more
Roxana Dreptu
The writing (or the translation) is so confusingly poetic that more often than not I stopped in the middle of a phrase and went back to try and figure out what was going on. While I appreciate poetic prose most of the time, this particular book might have benefited from a little bit more grounding material, in my opinion. I didn't hate the book because of the horrifying crime - but it didn't help me love it in any way, either. ...more
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kudos to the writer for having the courage to write about such a taboo subject matter. There are some very pretty and quotable lines of text scattered about. Ultimately, I did enjoy the overall experience of The Crime of Olga Arbyelina - it was definitely different and thus refreshing in that regard. However, as I was reading I couldn't help but feel that this tale would have made for a better short story or even a film as opposed to a novel. I enjoyed both the beginning and end but struggled th ...more

"Ea stia ca durerea, si fizica si morala, se datoreaza pe jumatate indignarii noastre in fata durerii, mirarii noastre in fata ei, refuzului nostru de a o accepta. Ca sa nu sufere, folosea intotdeauna acelasi siretlic: enumerarea. Da, trebuia sa constati, cu o privire cat se poate de indiferenta, prezenta obiectelor si a fiintelor reunite de o situatie dureroasa."
"Da, toate crampeiele de bucurie si de teama care ne alcatuiesc si despre care nu vorbim nicio
Tanya Cassingham
This is an intense and sometimes disturbing book, dealing with the desperate love a mother has for her fatally ill son. Because of the child's hemophilia he has been unable to have a normal childhood. His father abandoned him and his mother in Russia and they have moved to an isolated village in France. Olga, the mother, has royal ancestry and is held somewhat at arm's length by her fellow Russian emigres. This isolation, together with Olga's knowledge that her teenaged son will soon die, create ...more
Johan van Haersolte
A Whiter Shade Of Pale – The poetic nature of the author’s style was completely wasted on me. The story, there seemed to be a story, was drawn with a very light pencil on a greyish background. Very hard to discern. I forced myself to read the book till the final page and I managed. But only because after 50 pages I switched to 5th gear. What happens, when it happens, does it really happen (‘A Dream Within A Dream’)? Who knows? Some other reviewers have pointed out what the story is about, I than ...more
Mylène Fréchette
J'ai été conquise par ce roman dès les premières pages : la narration et les descriptions sont magnifiques, et l'histoire semblait prometteuse. Malheureusement, le récit s'essouffle à partir de la moitié du livre; il m'a semblé y avoir beaucoup de longueurs et de redites. Il reste que c'est un très bon livre, magnifiquement écrit, mais qui ne m'a pas passionnée autant que je l'aurais pensé au départ. ...more
Sep 01, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure what to make of it. A very odd and slow moving story and a slow read. Unfortunately because it took me so long to read it I didn't fully understand the ending which seemed to refer to something foreshadowed at the beginning I didn't remember. Alas. ...more
James R.
Mar 23, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had to force myself to finish this book. It caught my interest at the begining but drug on and was hard for me to follow the story line. I would not recomend it to anyone but there are a lot of people who liked it???
May 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
O forma de manifestare extrema a dragostei materne; de confruntat cu propriile idei.
Sarah Epton
somewhat of a disappointment after Dreams of My Russian Summers.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably my least favorite Makine novel (have read all but one), but still glad I read it. Makine's super power as a literary writer is to connect the reader to something in the real world (usually something in the past, something nostalgic), via the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist. In ARBYELINA, however, we get into the head of the title character and run smack into - I think - Makine's mind itself.

His command of descriptive prose is strong as ever, with special attention in this book
Primii pândesc cuvintele ca nişte simpli hoţi de confidenţe. Următorii apreciază la ele probabil altceva. De altfel, pot fi deosebiţi uşor: mult mai rari decât cei doar curioşi, ei vin singuri, îndrăznesc să se apropie ceva mai mult de bătrânul înalt care patrulează încet prin labirintul aleilor şi pleacă mai târziu decât primii.

Cuvintele pe care le murmură bătrânul sunt imediat risipite de vânt în lumina glacială a sfârşitului acestei după-amieze de iarnă. El se opreşte lângă o lespede de mormâ
Mar 15, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
''Cei mai înăcriți au evocat atunci vârsta femeii-patruzeci și șase de ani... Împingeau trupul ei definitiv inaccesibil spre bătrânețe, spre inapetența bătrâneții. Un bărbat poate fi nemilos cu femeia al cărei trup i-a scăpat, mai ales dacă e din cauza propriei lui lașități.''

''Dincolo de fereastră se răspândea încet somnolența amurgului.''

''Lumea e așadar jocul acela excitant, crud. Un joc cu combinații inepuizabile, cu reguli pe care le poți schimba tu însuți în timpul partidei.''

''La l
Mar 07, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
It's hard to give this book a rating as there were parts that were lyrical, and parts that were nonsensical as far as I was concerned. Part 1 was quite good; Part 2 was all over the place like a descent into madness; and I just couldn't face Part 3. ...more
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-breeze
Definitively this is not for me. The lyricism in prose writings, mixing of wake and dreaming moments without clear bordering by the narrator and the apparent tolerance from the author of incest are all things that will make me reconsider next time when I want to read a book written by Makine.

The premise is pretty hard to determine. There are some themes explored, like mother's care (love) for her children, leaving in exile or incurable diseases in teens. But none of these themes are treated conv
Aug 16, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
this review first appeared on []

the local library has a few andrei makine books. it was 'the earth and sky of jacques dorme' that first introduced me to makine and i fell in love with his writing style. 'the crime of olga arbyelina' was my second outing with his work.

it all starts off with a fascinating scene that unfolds in a russian cemetery in paris. an old man tends the graves and tells stories of the people who inhabit them. visitors come to the cemetery to hea
<- my cover

Description: A Russian princess, a refugee from the Bolsheviks, abandoned by a faithless husband, flees with her child to France, where she is subsequently found half-naked on a riverbank next to a body of a man with a terrible wound on his head.

Translated by Geoffrey Strachan who notes that Makine was born and brought up in Russia but this novel is written in French.

for You
Opening quotes by Dostoyevsky and Proust.

Opening: Those that come first lie in wait for his words
Matt Brant
In this saga of suffering, an ex-princess and her hemophiliac son live among other Russian emigres in rural France after WWII. She ekes out a living working in a library, enduring memories of exploitation by every man she has ever encountered. The language amazingly poetic, the story is simple and tragic. Not for the faint of heart, trust me. Beautiful descriptions of nature and the change of seasons.
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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

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