Context of "A thrilling page-turner that also happens to be the biography of one of Russia's most controversial figures This is how Emmanuel Carrère, the magnetic journalist, novelist, filmmaker, chameleon, describes his subject: "Limonov is not a Fictitious character. There. I know him. He was a rogue in Ukraine; an idol of the Soviet underground under Brezhnev; a bum, then a multimillionaire's valet in Manhattan; a fashionable writer in Paris; a lost soldier in the Balkan wars; and now, in the chaotic ruins of postcommunist Russia, the elderly but charismatic leader of a party of young desperados. He sees himself as a hero; you might call him a scumbag: I suspend my judgment on the matter. It's a dangerous life, an ambiguous life: a real adventure novel. It is also, I believe, a life that says something. Not just about him, Limonov, not just about Russia, but about all our history since the end of World War II." So Limonov isn't fictional--but he might as well be. This pseudo-biography isn't a novel, but it reads like one: from Limonov's grim childhood; to his desperate, comical, ultimately successful attempts to gain the respect of Russia's literary intellectual elite; to his emigration to New York, then to Paris; to his return to the motherland

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