Unforgiving Years is not a plot-driven novel. Instead, Serge engages his readers through the incredible characters trying to exist in an utterly oppressive atmosphere. His writing seamlessly blends the uncannily realistic with the hallucinatory, often leaving me astounded at the horrific beauty he creates. —Recommended by Luke, City Lights Books
Never before translated into English, Unforgiving Years is the most ambitious, the bleakest, and the most lyrical of the novels of Victor Serge, best-known for his gripping evocation of Stalinist Terror in The Case of Comrade Tulayev. Combining the taut plot of an action film with the exuberance of an adventure story, Unforgiving Years takes readers from the growing apprehension of pre-World War II Paris, to Leningrad under Nazi siege, to a Berlin that is rapidly collapsing as the Allies move in from east and west, and finally, with the war over, to the mountains of Mexico, a New World but one where Europe's lethal ideologies are still at work.
This sweeping story grounds history and politics in the intimacies of ordinary life, featuring a cast of artists, intellectual, agitators, spies, and hired assassins, for whom love and treachery are never far apart. Here Serge, a master of suspense and atmosphere, pushes realism to the brink of hallucination, in a depiction of worlds and souls in collision that reads like an unforgettable collaboration between Louis-Ferdinand Céline and John le Carré.