It’s him, Eddie

Gary Indiana

The prologue of Limonov places Emmanuel Carrère in Moscow, circa 2006, at a commemoration ceremony outside the Dubrovka Theatre, where in 2002 the Nord-Ost hostage crisis ended when the Russian military pumped Fentanyl gas into the theatre, indiscriminately killing well over a hundred hostages along with their Chechen captors. ‘In the centre of a circle, dominating the crowd, standing back and yet still attracting attention’, Carrère glimpses a vaguely familiar figure, holding a candle like everyone else. This nebulous entity ‘exuded importance’. The flickering candle suddenly lights his profile: ‘I recognised Limonov.’ The scene-setting strikes a ponderously cinematic note. ‘How long had it been since I’d thought of him?’ Carrère asks himself, or the reader, before whisking us back to the early 1980s, when Edward Limonov – Ukrainian émigré poet, recently down and out in New York – arrives in Paris, ‘crowned by the success of his scandalous novel, It’s Me, Eddie’. Limonov is a comet blazing across the local literary cosmos ‘where I’, Carrère tells us, ‘was making my own timid debut’.

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