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Antoine Volodine

Forfatter af Radiant Terminus

44+ Works 831 Members 23 Reviews 5 Favorited

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Image credit: Antoine Volodine (2014) By Librairie Mollat, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68763253

Værker af Antoine Volodine

Radiant Terminus (2014) 134 eksemplarer
Minor Angels (1999) 113 eksemplarer
Bardo or Not Bardo (2004) 84 eksemplarer
In the Time of the Blue Ball (2002) 50 eksemplarer
Writers (2010) 44 eksemplarer
We Monks and Soldiers (2008) 34 eksemplarer
Alto solo (1991) 31 eksemplarer
Dondog (2002) 29 eksemplarer
Eleven Sooty Dreams (2010) 26 eksemplarer
Naming the Jungle (1994) 23 eksemplarer
Les aigles puent (2010) 23 eksemplarer
Le port intérieur (1995) 20 eksemplarer
Black village (2017) 19 eksemplarer
Songes de Mevlido (2007) 17 eksemplarer
Lisbonne dernière marge (1990) 10 eksemplarer
Rituel du mépris (1986) 8 eksemplarer
Macau (2009) 7 eksemplarer
Les Filles de Monroe (2021) 7 eksemplarer
Un navire de nulle part (1986) 7 eksemplarer
Vue sur l'ossuaire (1998) 5 eksemplarer
Danse avec Nathan Golshem (2012) 5 eksemplarer
Herbes et golems (2012) 4 eksemplarer
Des enfers fabuleux (1988) 4 eksemplarer
Vivre dans le feu (2024) 4 eksemplarer
Haïkus de prison (2008) 3 eksemplarer
Nuit blanche en Balkhyrie (1997) 3 eksemplarer
Moi, les mammouths (2015) 2 eksemplarer
Nos bébés-pélicans (2003) 2 eksemplarer
Des Anges Mineurs 4 CD (1999) 1 eksemplar
Belle-Méduse (2008) 1 eksemplar
Au nord des gloutons (2002) 1 eksemplar
La Course au kwak (2004) 1 eksemplar
Le Deuxième Mickey (2003) 1 eksemplar
un oeuf dans la foule (2010) 1 eksemplar

Associated Works

xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths (2013) — Bidragyder; Bidragyder — 276 eksemplarer
The Big Book of Modern Fantasy (2020) — Bidragyder — 109 eksemplarer
Taiga-Blues (2002) — Oversætter, nogle udgaver37 eksemplarer
Lizka and her Men (2003) — Oversætter, nogle udgaver19 eksemplarer

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This was my entry into Antoine Volodine's unique literary project, which he promises can be read in any order. Volodine is only one of a number of heteronyms used by the French-Russian writer behind them, which is certainly unusual but not unheard of, but then each of these personas is writing from the same alternate reality. In this reality these writers are all left-wing prisoners in a totalitarian state, telling each other stories, and birds are human-like members of the resistance. Weird, huh. The project so far consists of 44 of a planned 49 works published in France over four decades, under various of the heteronyms, and together they make up the "post-exotic" literature. Eight have been translated into English over the last 25 years and there are three new translations coming out in 2021 to push that total to 11, of which Solo Viola, published by the University of Minnesota Press is one.

Solo Viola consists of two main parts with a short postscript. The first section had me in mind of Italo Calvino. It has that fable-like, somewhat whimsical quality to it. It introduces the reader to several groups of separate characters in a capital city. There are three just released political prisoners - a horse thief, a circus wrestler, and a bird. There are four members of a string quartet. There is the horse thief's more successful brother. There are millions of Frondists, followers of a populist nationalism that controls political and public life, expert in manipulating the dark currents of the human soul. There is a clown. And there is a writer:
He is not content to offer peevish, bitter pronouncements about the world that surrounds him. He does not reproduce in exact detail the elemental brutality to which humanity has been reduced, the bestial tragedy of their fate... [his] usual process was to replace the hideousness of current events with his own absurd images. His own partial hallucinations, both troubled and troubling. Most of the time, although obviously not always, he obeyed the rules of logic... suddenly his exotic parallel worlds would coincide with something buried in some random person's unconscious mind. Suddenly, that reader would emerge from the subterranean levels of mirage and onto the main square of the capital... he was unable to render on paper, without metaphors, his disgust, the nausea that seized him when he faced the present day and the inhabitants of that present... we approach the story of a man who lives in the anguish of being unclear, a man who spends twenty-four hours a day obsessed by the real, but who nevertheless expresses himself in an esoteric, sibylline manner, locating his heroes in nebulous societies and unrecognizable times.


I imagine we can take this description of the character of Iakoub Khadjbakiro (all characters in this novel have exotic sounding names to this reader, often seeming to bear some resemblance to Armenian ones) as a fair description of the author's decades-long project. And if he was horrified by ominous developments concerning populist nationalism in 1991, when this novel was published in France, he would hardly be less so when considering political developments in the Western world leading up to 2021. Thus his project unfortunately has just as much relevance today as at any time in the last forty years of its compilation.

All these characters, and Frondism, come together in the second part of the novel in a gradually building set piece of horror that reflects an attack on the arts and its supporters, an attack on a perceived cultural elite by the populist mass expertly manipulated by totalitarian leadership. Those of us who enjoy a good string quartet performance will be rather uncomfortable here. Volodine portrays the helplessness of those who become the target of the totalitarian mob's rage, a mob for whom, as would be said of Donald Trump's rallies twenty five years after this book's publication, the cruelty is the point.

The brief postscript suggests, in my initial read at least, that escape from this fate is only partially achievable by turning away from the reality of human nature and society and turning inward to the world of imagination, where we can at least imagine a society of the brotherhood of man - but which would ironically only exist in the mind of a sole person, and which here is suggested by a solo viola playing. I'll have to read more of the author to see if that fatalistic reading holds!
… (mere)
 
Markeret
lelandleslie | 1 anden anmeldelse | Feb 24, 2024 |
I have suffered a reading slump recently which I can only blame on Volodine's Terminus Radieux, not because it is a bad novel, but because it is the most depressing novel that I have read in a long time. So here are some bullet points as to why I found it such a struggle to get through:

It is a dystopian novel, where even staying alive seems to be a pointless exercise.

It takes place in Russia - a post nuclear Russia.

Characters seem to be neither dead nor alive, but something in between.

The prose is circular with very few events and when something does happen it is liable to be described again.

It is a novel of over 600 pages (I read the french original and so I might have lost something in the translation) where the situation seemingly, gets worse and worse.

Kronauer; a soldier and two colleagues have escaped from the Orbise a collective that was functioning as a capital of the region. It had been attacked by barbarians. Everybody is suffering from radiation sickness. The three have been on the run for about a month, have run out of water and collapsed within sight of some railway tracks. The woman Vassilissa Marachvili has been carried on Kronauer's back for some time and she is nearly dead, slipping in and out of consciousness. A train consisting of four wagons containing soldiers comes down the track and stops nearby. It is manned by soldiers half of whom are very dead, some are almost alive and all are sick. The three comrades remain hidden, but Kronauer decides to make for some nearby woods in a search for water. He eventually makes it to a Kolkhoze (an agricultural collective) and becomes a semi prisoner of the President.

The President Solovièï practises some kind of mind control and has become immune and possibly immortal due to radiation poisoning. His partner Mémé Oudgoul has become notorious as one of the few people who also survives the radiation. They are encamped on a nuclear rector/outlet and have three daughters with whom Solvieï has incestuous relationships. He exercises control over the few inhabitants by nightmarish dreamscapes and is jealous of any unwelcome approaches to his daughters. Everybody is sick. Time passes, no one is really sure if they are alive or dead, the sun is almost blotted out, everything is grey and cold, daylight is decreasing and the creatures that seem to be benefiting are the carrion crows.

If ever a book celebrates the idea that darkness is coming then it is Terminus Radieux. Reading dystopian novels at a time when we are on the doorstep of a climate catastrophe is not everybody's idea of fun reading, but added to that the distinct possibility of nuclear war in Europe and one can easily for-see the future of our planet in the world that is described by Volodine. The novel is effective because it creates a powerful atmospheric force that destroys all hope of a return to lighter times. Is our future on this planet as bleak as Volodine claims, well if so I suggest you read his novel on a bright sunny day when the birds are singing. It should be banned as winter reading in Scandinavia or anywhere north of Alaska.

A difficult novel to rate, as an exercise in dystopian fiction then possibly a five star read. It is however a struggle and my enjoyment limits it to 3.5.
… (mere)
½
 
Markeret
baswood | 5 andre anmeldelser | Apr 12, 2022 |

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Værker
44
Also by
4
Medlemmer
831
Popularitet
#30,724
Vurdering
½ 3.7
Anmeldelser
23
ISBN
104
Sprog
9
Udvalgt
5

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