It’s him, Eddie
- Limonov: A Novel by Emmanuel Carrère, translated by John Lambert
Allen Lane, 340 pp, £20.00, October 2014, ISBN 978 1 84614 820 0
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’.
The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.