Us Conductors: A Novel

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Us Conductors: A Novel

by Sean Michaels

Random House of Canada | April 8, 2014 | Trade Paperback |

5 out of 5 rating. 2 Reviews
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The New Face of Fiction for 2014, Us Conductors is a beautiful, haunting, brilliant novel inspired by the true life and loves of the Russian scientist, inventor and spy Lev Termen--creator of the theremin.
     In a finely woven series of flashbacks and correspondence, Us Conductors takes us from the glitz and glam of New York in the 1930s to the gulags and scientific camps of the Soviet Union. Lev Termen is imprisoned on a ship steaming its way from New York City to the Soviet Union. He is writing a letter to his "one true love," Clara Rockmore, the finest theremin player in the world. From there we learn Termen''s story: his early days as a scientist in Leningrad, and the acclaim he received as the inventor of the theremin, eventually coming to New York under the aegis of the Russian state. There he stays, teaching eager music students, making his name, and swiftly falling in love with Clara. But it isn''t long until he has fallen in with Russian spooks, slipping through the shadows of a budding Cold War, with cold-blooded results. The novel builds to a crescendo as Termen returns to Russia, where he is imprisoned in a Siberian gulag and later brought to Moscow, tasked with eavesdropping on Stalin himself. Us Conductors is a book of longing and electricity. Like Termen''s own life, it is steeped in beauty, wonder and looping heartbreak. How strong is unrequited love? What does it mean when it is the only thing keeping you alive? This sublime debut inhabits the idea of invention on every level, no more so than in its depiction of Termen''s endless feelings for Clara--against every realistic odd. For what else is love, but the greatest invention of all?

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 Pages, 5.91 × 9.06 × 0.79 in

Published: April 8, 2014

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345813324

ISBN - 13: 9780345813329

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– More About This Product –

Us Conductors: A Novel

by Sean Michaels

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 Pages, 5.91 × 9.06 × 0.79 in

Published: April 8, 2014

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345813324

ISBN - 13: 9780345813329

From the Publisher

The New Face of Fiction for 2014, Us Conductors is a beautiful, haunting, brilliant novel inspired by the true life and loves of the Russian scientist, inventor and spy Lev Termen--creator of the theremin.
     In a finely woven series of flashbacks and correspondence, Us Conductors takes us from the glitz and glam of New York in the 1930s to the gulags and scientific camps of the Soviet Union. Lev Termen is imprisoned on a ship steaming its way from New York City to the Soviet Union. He is writing a letter to his "one true love," Clara Rockmore, the finest theremin player in the world. From there we learn Termen''s story: his early days as a scientist in Leningrad, and the acclaim he received as the inventor of the theremin, eventually coming to New York under the aegis of the Russian state. There he stays, teaching eager music students, making his name, and swiftly falling in love with Clara. But it isn''t long until he has fallen in with Russian spooks, slipping through the shadows of a budding Cold War, with cold-blooded results. The novel builds to a crescendo as Termen returns to Russia, where he is imprisoned in a Siberian gulag and later brought to Moscow, tasked with eavesdropping on Stalin himself. Us Conductors is a book of longing and electricity. Like Termen''s own life, it is steeped in beauty, wonder and looping heartbreak. How strong is unrequited love? What does it mean when it is the only thing keeping you alive? This sublime debut inhabits the idea of invention on every level, no more so than in its depiction of Termen''s endless feelings for Clara--against every realistic odd. For what else is love, but the greatest invention of all?

About the Author

Sean Michaels was born in Stirling, Scotland, in 1982. Raised in Ottawa, he eventually settled in Montreal, founding Said the Gramophone, one of the earliest music blogs. He has since spent time in Edinburgh and Kraków, writ­ten for the Guardian and McSweeney's, toured with rock bands, searched the Parisian catacombs for Les UX, and received 2 National Magazine Awards.

Editorial Reviews

“Following the life of Leon Termen, the inventor of the theremin,  Us Conductors  takes the reader from Leningrad to New York City, from gulags to speakeasies, dance floors and concert stages to laboratories and cattle cars.  Us Conductors  stretches its arms to encompass nearly everything—it is an immigrant tale, an epic, a spy intrigue, a prison confession, an inventor’s manual, a creation myth, and an obituary—but the electric current humming through its heart is an achingly resonant love story. Sean Michaels orchestrates his first novel like a virtuoso.” —Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena “A fascinating novel! Told with grace and confidence, and in a finely wrought voice,  Us Conductors  kept surprising me to the end. I was swept from the speakeasies and artistic fervor of 1930s Manhattan to bleak, secretive Soviet Union prisons, and never once was the illusion shattered. Throughout the story, the themes of love and music sing like the pure, ethereal notes of the theremin.”  —Eowyn Ivey, author of the New York Times bestseller The Snow Child   “Sean Michaels revisits the story of Lev Termen with just the right amount of distortion and invention, drawing a fascinating parabola through the Roaring Twenties and down into the Cold War. An amazing, addictive novel, written with a sharp sense of rhythm.” —Nicolas Dickner, autho
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